Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher says he will be seeking clarity from Health Minister Simon Harris on the actual savings which will be made as a result of a new four year agreement between the Government and the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association.

“Over the past few weeks there have been a number of reports suggesting a deal involving savings of €750-€780 million was about to be agreed. The headline figure announced today is an estimated €600 million ‘plus additional savings from non-PHA companies’. However, no figure or estimate is provided in the Minister’s statement for these additional savings and it would be helpful if this number could be put on record”, explained Deputy Kelleher.

“I will be requesting that the Minister appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee to give a detailed account of the deal and the savings which are forecast.

“While the overall deal is welcome, as savings in the state drugs bill are essential, it is disappointing that this new deal wasn’t in place before the old one expired.  It would have been useful if these savings could have been made from the start of this year.

“Of course, with an ageing population the deal today won’t actually reduce the overall cost of medication for the State; rather it will slow down the pace of its increase.

“Nonetheless, more can and should be done to achieve savings on the drugs bill. In particular we need to see greater use of generics and bio-similar products if we want to keep drug costs down. Fianna Fáil will be pushing for this in the months ahead.”