Reference Pricing

The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 also provides for the introduction by the HSE of a system of reference pricing for generic and brand-named medicines that are deemed interchangeable. 

Reference pricing involves the setting of a common reimbursement price, or reference price, for a group of interchangeable medicines. Patients will not face any additional costs for products priced at or below the reference price. If patients would like to receive a particular brand of medicine that costs more than the reference price then they will have to pay the difference between the reference price and the cost of the 
brand-named medicine.

The HSE will begin the process of establishing a reference price for groups of interchangeable medicines after they have been added to the interchangeable list by the HPRA. As a result, reference prices are being introduced on a phased basis and so not all medicines will be affected at once. The most up-to-date information on reference pricing can be found on the HSE website.

First Reference Price
The first reference price, for atorvastatin medicines, was introduced by the HSE on 1 November 2013. Atorvastatin medicines were the first to be added to the list of interchangeable medicines by the HPRA (in August 2013).

Further Information
Further details about reference pricing, can be found on the HSE website. This includes the Patient Guide to Reference Pricing leaflet, which shows how reference pricing might impact different types of patients including those with a medical card or a drugs payment card.