Life Sciences and Energy

New ‘Healthwave’ promises cheaper perscription medicines

By Business & Finance
15 January 2014

Despite numerous price drops in recent years, Ireland is still one of the most expensive countries in the world to buy medicine, particularly prescription medication. However, Healthwave, a new pharmacy based in Dundrum with an online channel, is set to disrupt the Irish market significantly by providing medications, prescriptions and over the counter (OTC), at a huge cost saving to the consumer.

“The cost of medication in Ireland has been multiples of those seen in other European countries, most notably across the border in Northern Ireland. The premise of Healthwave is to provide transparent pricing and universal access to affordable medication in Ireland,” explains Shane O’Sullivan, pharmacist and CEO Healthwave.

“Pharmacies in Northern Ireland have been experiencing higher sales in recent years due to the number of customers travelling from the Republic to fulfil prescriptions at a fraction of the cost in the North. Healthwave will save Irish customers money, and not just in terms of petrol charges but with real savings on medicines. With HealthPass, our prices are on par with the prices offered in Northern Ireland pharmacies,” added O’Sullivan.

A 28-day supply of Atorvastatin (10mg), the generic cholesterol medication, currently costs €10.42 in the Republic of Ireland compared to just £5 or €5.99 in a pharmacy in Newry. HealthPass will provide the same supply of Atorvastatin (10mg) for €4.95, a saving of over 50% a month on the prescription.

HealthPass, the Healthwave subscription service with an annual fee of €25, guarantees Irish consumers the best pricing for medication in Ireland.

“The HealthPass scheme is the first of its kind in Ireland, and it is modelled on systems currently in place in pharmacies across the US. By using HealthPass you can monitor your health, renew prescriptions and save money, it’s a progressive new system for pharmacies and we are excited to share it with our customers,” he added.

Other pharmacies in Ireland have reduced the mark up on medications, including generic medicines. However, only the HealthPass service ensures that consumers pay the lowest price, by passing on all of the discount on drug prices, in some cases resulting in a saving of more than 50% which can generate over €250 in total savings a year per medication.

For example, a Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) user who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) usually pays €144 at the pharmacy, the government then subsidises the remainder of the total fee, which is an additional €19.46. Under the HealthPass service, the customer will now pay only €100 per month, a personal saving of €44 and a state saving of €19.46.

Providing a nationwide service, through, customers throughout Ireland can avail of the fantastic HealthPass discounts and even email prescriptions through to the Healthwave team for pricing.

As well as HealthPass, Healthwave pharmacy will also have an app (HealthwaveHQ), coming on stream in February, including a pill reminder alert, barcode price scan, prescription re-order, and access to the online Healthwave shop. The store also includes several options for ‘quantified self’ wearables, which is the big trend for 2014, enabling customers to record and analyse calorie consumption and energy used, heart and blood pressure monitoring, weight monitor and all other vital stats.

Following recent government policy, pharmacists are obliged to substitute a prescribed medicine for a generic alternative for those on medical cards. Widespread generic substitution is taking place in pharmacies here, for all patients, but the mark up on generics here is often three and four times the value of the medication in other countries.

Selling predominantly generic medication, Healthwave not only promises to provide the best value medication, but their team of qualified and experienced pharmacists are on hand to provide assistance and support to consumers with any questions or health concerns. The Healthwave flagship store is now open in Dundrum, it has a full pharmacy, health foods, health screening area and a wide range of health & wellness products.