Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 146 - Prescription drugs [25156/11]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 146 - Prescription drugs [25156/11]. (21 Sep 2011)

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146. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the steps which have been taken to implement the report of his Department’s benzodiazepine committee; the total cost of benzodiazepine prescribing to the health service. 25156/11]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): The Benzodiazepine committee was set up by the Department of Health and Children in June 2000 to examine the prescribing and use of benzodiazepines and to make recommendations on good prescribing and dispensing practice. The Committee’s report was published in August 2002. It made a number of recommendations for implementation by the Department, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Irish Medicines Board, the Irish College of General Practitioners and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. The majority of the recommendations have been implemented in full or in part, the main one being the preparation and issuing of Good Practice Guidelines to all GPs. In addition GPs can audit their prescribing of benzodiazepines through systems put in place by the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service; the systems also allow GPs to compare their prescribing practices with that of their peers.  

I am aware that the consumption of benzodiazepines in Ireland is high and tackling the inappropriate prescribing of benzodiazepines is a priority area for me. It is intended to develop proposals to amend the Misuse of Drugs legislation to introduce stricter controls on benzodiazepines. In addition, the HSE has been asked to look at prescribing patterns for benzodiazepines in order to identify those areas which are out of line with best practice.
I have asked the HSE for information in relation to the cost of benzodiazepine prescribing to the health service and I will revert to the Deputy with this information.
Written Answers – Prescription Drugs
Vol. 741 No. 1
Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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