From today, Friday, 1st December a new ground-breaking medication for heart failure is available to patients in Ireland under the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme.
Having raised the availability of this new, innovative medication with Health Minster, Simon Harris TD, I am delighted that the HSE’s Medicines Management Programme has approved the reimbursement of ‘Entresto’ heart failure medication.
Entresto is the first innovative therapy for heart failure in over a decade and clinical trials have shown that it reduces deaths by 20% and hospitalisations by 21% enabling patients to remain at home in their community rather than in hospital. The results are all the more significant given that there are over 90,000 people with heart failure in Ireland and that the condition accounts for over half of all hospitalisations of people over 65.
With the advances in research and technology resulting in more high-tech medications it is important that we review the process for examining new medications which are being consider for inclusion under the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme.
The application for Entreso was first submitted in January 2016 but was only finally sanctioned in November 2017. This is in contrast to other countries, including the US, the UK and Germany, where the availability of the medication was fast-tracked.
While I accept and appreciate the need for a rigorous and thorough process to examine and new medications to independently review their effectiveness the length of time awaiting a decision is far too long.
Medications, like Entresto, make a huge difference to the lives of patients across the country as well as reducing the spending required on hospital treatment. Therefore, we need to ensure that our medicines approval process is as effective and efficient as possible.
The letter from the HSE’s Medicines Management Programme confirming approval of Entresto