SINN FÉIN TD Thomas Gould has called on the Government to prioritise the assessment of a monoclonal antibody drug used to treat atopic eczema.
Earlier this year the Irish Skin Foundation (ISF) called on the HSE to reimburse the drug as a means to allow people living with severe atopic eczema access to it.
Dupilumab has been available to patients elsewhere in Europe for over two years and was described by the ISF as ‘a potentially life-changing new treatment’.
In response to a question on the issue, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) recommended to the HSE that Dupilumab be considered for reimbursement, if cost-effectiveness could be improved, for the treatment of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in adult patients, but not for the treatment in adolescents 12 years and older.
“It took the HSE over two years to conduct a full assessment of Dupilumab,” Mr Gould said.
“This is shocking when people are living in pain and discomfort waiting for the outcome of this assessment.
“This assessment recommended dupilumab as an alternative treatment for atopic eczema in November 2019. It wasn’t until January that this was conveyed to the applicant.
“They submitted an appeal in August but this won’t be discussed until this month at the HSE Drugs Group.
“Given the significant impact this could have on the lives of those affected, it is ridiculous that we are now three years into the process and no firm answer has been given. We cannot continue to leave people in limbo.”