New medicines can’t help if patients can’t access them!

New medicines can’t help if patients can’t access them!

Scientific advances have led to advances in treatments for serious diseases like MS as well as cancer, heart disease, and rare diseases. However, patients cannot begin to experience improved quality of life and better survival rates if they do not have quick access to the innovative medicines.

With this in mind, it is time to look at a way forward that makes sense for everyone, but in particular, patients.

Every country in Western Europe has a system that gives patients access to new medicines at a negotiated price.

Why is Ireland’s the slowest?

Why can’t Ireland replicate the systems elsewhere in Europe that deliver fast access to new medicines for patients?

Why can’t Ireland replicate a system similar to Germany’s and allow patients to get access to the new medicines while negotiations on price are taking place?


Stats and facts

Access to medicines in Ireland

  • The rate of availability for new medicines in Ireland is alarmingly low and on par with Bulgaria.4
  • Only 1 in 5 new medicines launched internationally is available in Ireland.5
  • Only 22% of medicines approved by the European Commission in 2016 are available in Ireland.6
  • The time between approval and reimbursement in Ireland has risen dramatically over the past ten years. Irish patients used to be able to access medicines within 3 months of EMA approval. Now it takes an average of 348 days.2  In some cases, it can take more than 4 years for patients to access medicines that they need. 3


MS in Ireland

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).7
  • Nine thousand people and their family members live with MS across Ireland.7
  • MS is commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 and MS is twice as likely in women than men.8
  • Symptoms can affect nearly every part of the body and the mind. Up to 90% of people with MS experience fatigue. Within 15 years of onset, more than 50% of people with MS have difficulty walking.8
  • Vision difficulties are common, and a first symptom in 15-20% of people with MS. 8
  • There is no cure for MS, but research continues to better understand and treat the disease. 8
  • Multiple Sclerosis Ireland is the only national organisation providing information, support and advocacy services to the MS community. Find out more at


Need a term explained? Check out the glossary.