HomeNews€20 million in funding available for new medicines in 2024

€20 million in funding available for new medicines in 2024

There is €20 million in funding available for new medicines in 2024, according to Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly.

He said this funding was in addition to the record almost €3 billion being spent on medicines in 2023. It represented nearly €1 in every €8 of public funding being spent on health. This unprecedented level of investment in our health services would support access for patients to the latest range of medicines. 

‘This new funding will support patients with cancer, to access exciting new therapies with the promise of greatly improved health outcomes. Many other clinical areas will benefit from this new funding announcement, including chronic kidney disease, drugs used to treat auto-immune conditions as well as inherited and rare disorders.’ 

The Department said the funding for new drugs would have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of patients. Thanks to the use of new horizon scanning technologies, patients in Ireland would now gain access to new, innovative therapies across a wide range of therapeutic areas. 

Minister Donnelly said, ‘While I have continued to ensure new investment year-on-year to support access to new medicines, much more needs to be done by all relevant parties to improve the sustainability of medicines expenditure. I have been clear that in 2024 there must be a focus on drug expenditure to ensure the safe, effective, and cost-effective use of medicines and the identification of new short and long-term opportunities to realise savings and efficiencies. As a starting point, I have asked the HSE to ensure it realises at least €10 million in new additional efficiency gains. This money will be re-invested in new drugs and will ensure that the substantial investment in medicines is maximised to treat even more patients with new therapeutic innovations in the years to come.’

The Minister has tasked the  HSE, the Department, and all relevant agencies and stakeholders to place a priority focus on achieving cost savings which could then be considered for additional reinvestment. This would include, for example, the examination of measures to enhance the use of generic and, in particular, biosimilar medicines. 

The new funding builds on the Minister’s announcement in Budget 2024 of a substantial investment in resources to enhance the HSE’s medicines pricing and reimbursement process. This was a recommendation of the working group established following the Minister for Health’s publication of the Mazars Report in February 2023.