Department of Health questioned over money paid by big pharma to healthcare bodies and workers

Report from the Royal College of Surgeons says the HSE lacks clear oversight of payments which may be leading to reduced quality prescribing and increased costs

The HSE has said in a letter to Brian Stanley, the Sinn Fein TD, it does not collect data on pharma company payments to its employees and the organisations it runs. Picture: Eamonn Farrell/

The Department of Health faced questioning over the millions of euro paid by pharma companies to Irish healthcare workers and organisations, including hospitals.

The department was questioned today by the Public Accounts Committee over a report from researchers at Royal College of Surgeons Ireland which said there is evidence that such payments are associated with increased cost of prescribing drugs and higher rates of prescribing.

Earlier this year the Business Post reported that €163 million from big pharma was paid to healthcare organisations and professionals in Ireland from 2015 to 2019.