Kerry TD questions procedures around drugs that treat rare diseases

A Kerry TD has questioned the procedures around orphan drugs.

Deputy John Brassil spoke at the Joint Committee on Health yesterday about the evaluation process for orphan drugs, which is the term for drugs that treat rare diseases.

The Fianna Fáil TD says only 53 of 148 orphan drugs were reimbursed in Ireland, which is well below rates in the UK, France and Germany.

Respreeza, a drug that treats a disease called Alpha-1, was being supplied to 21 patients nationally as part of a trial, which has since ceased.

Deputy Brassil believes cost-effectiveness does not always have to be the parameter used when deciding on reimbursement for orphan drugs.