• Medicines for Europe and its Irish member Health Enterprise Alliance (HEA) called on the Irish Government to provide leadership in removing policy barriers to the uptake of biosimilar medicines in Ireland.
  • Biosimilar medicines will play a key role in increasing access to high quality, biological therapies for Irish patients while helping to lower the drugs bill for patients and the health service.
  • The Minister of Health holds the key to removing the barriers to biosimilar medicines competition in Ireland.

Today, Medicines for Europe engaged alongside its Irish national association Health Enterprise Alliance (HEA) in illustrating the benefits of stimulating competition in the biologic medicines market in Ireland. Market barriers have unintentionally led to low levels of competition and as a result Ireland has lost out on the benefits of biosimilar medicines. Ireland currently has one of the lowest shares of biosimilar medicines in all of Europe. An effective biosimilar medicines policy should remove the barriers to competition and enable Ireland to leapfrog to the top of the European league.

Adrian van den Hoven, Medicines for Europe Director General, outlined that to unleash the full potential of biosimilar medicines, Ireland needs to remove the barriers to effective competition. Ten years of European experience with biosimilar medicines has proven that biosimilar medicines can massively improve access to medicines while contributing to a sustainable pharmaceutical budget. Sharing the gains of biosimilar medicines competition between patients, physicians and payers (hospitals or the health budget) is a powerful tool to enable access, provide treatment alternatives and deliver tangible results for savings on drugs bills. “Ireland needs to raise its game in biosimilar medicines. EU regulatory agencies and medical societies such as EULAR, ECCO or ESMO are widely supportive of physician-led switching based on the wealth of clinical experience and data available on the 10 years of biosimilar medicines”.

Early adopters of biosimilar medicines such as Germany have seen drastic improvement in patient access to modern therapies, both in terms of the number of patients who can be treated as well as considering them earlier in the treatment cycle where medically appropriate. At the same time they have also provided savings to the health budget and this has enabled policy makers to re-invest into the healthcare system for much needed services and products.