Another screw up by HSE

Any pharmacist at the battle front would know that Paracetamol for dispensing has been in short supply from the wholesalers for some time now. Most of us have been getting by on what we had in stock. This is not helped by the fact that there is currently only one manufacturer/supplier of paracetamol in Ireland.

A colleague suggested the following reason to me.

Paracetamol 500mg 100’s
UK price £1.83 = €2.18 @ 1Eur = 0.84p
Irish Price €1.57

Companies selling Paracetamol can get 40% more by selling into the UK….Simple!

I don’t know for sure if this is the case but if it is who could blame them. This high lights a bigger problem. The Dept of Health via the HSE has set the cost prices that they will pay for ALL medicines. Many of the pharma companies have decided “Sod it, it’s not worth it.” Already pharmacists have seen a number of medicines run into long term short supply. In many situations these medicines have to be replaced by much more expensive ULMs. The HSE ends up paying anyway so not only is there no saving it will probably cost more.

There is a whole ethical argument about supplying medicine but if it does not make economic sense for a company to supply to the Irish market at prices set by the HSE then they will sell their medicines elsewhere, and good luck to them. And in many cases there is no suitable or equivalent alternative. And it is the patients who suffer. It will probably take a govt minister or a family member needing a critical medicine which is not available before something gets done. And even I wouldn’t wish that upon them as I have seen the grief that it causes.

And if you were to ask the HSE about this they would say that they weren’t aware of any problem. But they are most likely have their head stuck in the sand planning the next piss up in a brewery.

July ’10 Article

You can find it here.
The full magazine is here.

I had a chat with another pharmacist recently. He was of the view that if we want to be taken seriously as professionals then we must charge for our services. The slogan that he came up with is

“Advice is free, a consultation is €10”

People never value something that they get for free. It will cut away at our accessibility but it could make the whole profession more viable.