Ireland: Pharma’s Market

September 2013

The following is an edited extract from an article published in ‘The Lawyer’ on 23 September 2013. It includes quotes from Mark Ryan, partner in Whitney Moore and recognised expert in the retail pharmacy industry sector. To view the full article, click here.

The pharmaceutical industry has been good to Ireland and is commonly accepted as a strong area of focus. Through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the government is investing €200m (£170m) in seven research centres, that are also being funded with more than €100m from industry. The Irish tax regime, a well-educated workforce and Ireland’s proximity to Europe are helping to make pharmaceutical companies with an Irish link highly attractive, mostly to US investors.  Over the past 10 to 20 years Ireland has developed the confidence to be the place where you cannot only house your manufacturing and R&D, but also very successfully house your headquarters for pharmaceutical companies.

Regulation has also supported the retail pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. At Whitney Moore, partner Mark Ryan advises the retail pharmacy industry on corporate and regulatory issues. He explains that recent changes to regulation, notably the Pharmacy Act 2007, have been a little slow to kick in. A significant development was the establishment of the industry regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

“It took the Pharmaceutical Society a couple of years to get going, but it’s now going with vim and vigour,” Ryan says.

Another major piece of regulation the industry is grappling with is the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, enacted in May.  “Already there are some issues about how that’s going to work,” says Ryan.” A lot of pharmacists believe that it’s just a charter for generic substitutions, which it’s not.”

Ryan adds that the industry is also well-regulated when it comes to managing pharmacists themselves and Whitney Moore has a number of fitness to practice cases ongoing at present.