Government failing to find sources of drugs which are far cheaper abroad
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has today lashed out at the government for failing to get tough with Pharmaceutical companies who are charging extortionate charges for vital drugs and denying sick and suffering people access to these drugs to protect super profits.
Deputy Boyd Barrett also said that the government failing to identify cheaper available alternatives. He cited a number of examples for other countries where the same drugs were bought for far cheaper than Ireland.
He also spoke about the ridiculous situation where Orkambi, a drug for treating Cystic Fibrosis, is being denied to patients by the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics because of cost reasons. It currently cost €160,000 per person for the drug. This is despite the fact that the drug has massive benefits for Cystic Fibrosis patients according to the same body, the NCPE.
Richard Boyd Barrett said “what we can see is that the government are completely subservient to these massive pharmaceutical companies. These companies are charging outrageous prices to people who are very vulnerable. These companies are parasitically profiteering from sick and vulnerable people. In the case of Orkambi, it is a disgrace that that these drugs have been rejected due to price.
“Our government is completely failing to identify cheaper alternative drugs. There are plenty of examples of how the exact same drugs are cheaper abroad. Harvoni, which is used to treat Hep C in Ireland cost €45,000 for 12 week course where as in Australia it is available at €1,000 for a 12 week course. Similarly, Paracetamol in Boots in the UK costs 35 cents for 12 tablets. In Ireland this can be 99 cents for 12 tablets in Boots or up to €1.55 for 12 tablets in Tesco.
“What we would like to see done is for the government to get tough with these pharmaceutical companies by punishing them through tax measures for charging outrageous prices for drugs or capping the price of drugs in this country unless they reduce the price.”