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Prescribing incentives backed

11 Sep 2015

Dr Michael Barry

The HSE has insisted that any prescribing incentive scheme will focus on quality prescribing — for example, promoting generic prescribing that is “safer prescribing and not just focused on cost savings”.

The Clinical Lead for the Medicines Management Programme Dr Michael Barry said there were areas where savings could be made through a “quality prescribing incentive scheme”.

It is understood potential savings of €10 million on the prescribing of drugs for respiratory medicine are projected. This would take a number of years to reach full implementation. Up to €3 million could also be saved on prescribing of proton pump inhibitors as well as €2 million on the cost of prescribing statins.

The concept is at an early stage, but has been presented to the Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar, who supports it, and details are now being discussed at HSE level. The experience from previous incentive schemes (the IDTSS) and experience from abroad has been taken on board.

It is envisaged that any future incentive scheme, if introduced, would be a short-term one, lasting perhaps two-to-three years. Then it would be subject to review. This is due to the fact that any new savings have tended to be generated in the early years of such schemes.

The prescribing scheme would have easily identified targets, such as the percentage of generic prescribing and the percentage of preferred drug use in a given therapeutic class. This would have to make professional sense to ensure ‘buy in’, Dr Barry told IMT.

The overall objective is to reduce the cost of medicines to the state, while at the same time ensuring that the HSE has the capacity to pay for effective new drugs as they clear the development and clinical trial process.

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times