It has emerged that the Government came under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to reverse a HSE decision not to pay for new drugs and medicines.

The Clinical Director of the National Centre for Pharmaco-economics at St James's Hospital Dr Michael Barry said the new agreement between the industry and the HSE is a good one.

The agreement came into effect last month.

Dr Barry said in trying to create a sustainable pharmaceutical market the health service is trying to reduce the amount spent on off-patent medicines, which will enable the purchase of vital new drugs.

"We should also look at that agreement as really progress towards a more sustainable model in pricing reimbursement of medicines in this country, and what I mean by that is we pay less for off-patent medicines which allows us then to afford the new medicines that our patients want and that as prescribers we want to be able to prescribe for our patients," he said.