Drug firms give €3.7m in financial support to hospitals

Drug companies paid HSE hospitals more than €3.7 million last year in financial support.

The money was paid by way of sponsorship, donations and grants, as well as speaker and other consultancy and educational event fees.

The payment of direct or indirect financial support to hospitals, termed “transfers of value”, is disclosed by the industry group – the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (Ipha) – as part of a commitment to transparency agreed by drug industry lobby groups across Europe in 2013.

This is the second year that the payments have been disclosed, with the figures published formally on Friday. Similar data for “transfers of value” to other healthcare organisations and to individual doctors will also be disclosed.

The most generous contributors to HSE hospitals last year were Abbvie and Pfizer, two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the State. Abbvie’s arthritis drugs Humira and Pfizer’s Enbrel, also for arthritis, are among the biggest contributors to the HSE’s €1.2 billion annual medicines bill.

Up to last year, the HSE was spending about €100 million a year on Humira and about €60 million on Enbrel. Both are newer generation biologic drugs which are more expensive to buy though both these drugs are reaching the end of the period when they are protected by patents.

The sums disclosed under the transfers of value are not related to payment for medicines supplied by the companies.

The details published on Friday cover financial support to 33 HSE hospitals around the State by 33 pharmaceutical companies. The drug companies employ tens of thousands of workers across the State in a sector that is one of the most valuable to the economy in terms of foreign direct investment.

The biggest beneficiaries from any one company are the Mater hospital in Dublin and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, which received more than €180,000 and €150,000 respectively from Abbvie in 2016.

Top 5 Payers

Abbvie €1,006,712

Pfizer €494,376

Bayer €388,344

Novartis €230,727

Sanofi €210,187

Top Recipients

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital €490,874

Tallaght Hospital €480,333

St James’s Hospital €339,592

University Hospital, Limerick €338,109

The Mater Foundation €279,239

Beaumont Hospital €247,905


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