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Posts tagged ‘Northern Ireland’

‘rip-off’ price for Medicines

sent in to us by Cris

Aideen Sheehan  Consumer Correspondent

                    CONSUMERS have expressed fury at ‘rip-off’ price discrepancies between medicines sold in Northern Ireland and the republic.

Further evidence has emerged of massive differences in prices in  pharmacies either side of the border – even for generic drugs, which are supposed to offer patients better value.

The HSE promised it  would introduce a new reference pricing system this November, which  would cut prices of generic drugs by up to 40pc.

But in the meantime, customers have told the Irish Independent of being charged between five and seven times more for vital medications here as compared to the North.

One customer complained of being quoted €288 for three months’ supply of various medicines that cost less than €44 in Northern Ireland.

Another patient told how she was recently charged almost €40 for an anti-fungal skin medication that was available in the North for just €7.50.

The medicine in question is called Terbinafine and she was charged €39.69 for the branded version Lamisil in a Dublin pharmacy.

She was told the generic version was just a few cents cheaper here.

Generic drugs are non-branded medicines which are fully approved by regulatory  bodies as having an identical active ingredient and effect as the  original patented medicine.

However, while branded Lamisil  actually cost slightly more north of the Border, the identical generic  drug Terbina-fine was available in Boots in Newry for just £6.33  (€7.53).

The customer, who did not want to be named to protect her medical privacy, said she could not believe the discrepancy.

“It is absolutely outrageous and shows rip-off Ireland is alive and well,” she said.

“No matter what they say about this being a smaller market with higher  costs etcetera, there is absolutely no excuse for a price differential  of that scale,” she said.

The biggest price gaps appear to be concentrated in the generic drug field, as some branded medicines such as Lipitor and Lamisil are actually higher priced in Northern Ireland. Another  customer who is on a monthly cocktail of five different prescription  medicines – Atorvastatin, Aspirin, Ramopril, Bisprolol and Pantaprozole –  described the price discrepancy as “scandalous”.

She told the Irish Independent she had paid £36.53 (€43.65) for a three-month supply in Northern Ireland.

The same generic medicines had come in at €96.17 for one month’s supply in the republic, or €288.15 for three months.

That meant her bill for lifesaving drugs was almost seven times dearer here.

Pharmacies have blamed generic drug manufacturers for setting much higher prices in the Republic than in Britain.

But the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland, which  represents generic drugmakers, said pharmacies set their own prices to  private patients. The APMI claims that this accounts for a lot of the  price discrepancy.


APMI president Fergal Murphy said that the factory prices set for generic  drugs were inevitably higher than the UK, which had huge economies of  scale, as packaging and licensing costs were much higher for a small  market.

“Drug prices are already coming down substantially as reference pricing and generic substitution finally comes in,” he said.

Meanwhile, the HSE said that it was introducing a new reference pricing system  this November, which would cut prices of generic drugs by up to 40pc.

It said that the current maximum reimbursement price it paid for generic  Terbinafine issued to public patients was €20.04. But it did not set the mark-ups or fees charged for private prescriptions, as this was a  matter for individual pharmacies, it said.


Northern Ireland court case sheds light on Irish banks lending practices during the boom

“About this time Mr McDonald [Bank of Scotland (Ireland)] told Mr Walsh that he was coming under considerable pressure to lend more money due to increased lending targets imposed by the bank and the bank was keen to expand the loan book to key customers and Mr Walsh was identified as a key customer or a preferred customer.  Mr McDonald advised that the bank had received particulars of Direct Line House in Leeds and it was proposed that Mr Walsh should acquire this property.” Extract from Northern Ireland High Court judgment Chris Walsh v Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

Will this nation ever forgive developers for having racked up colossal lending, which, when the State decided to guarantee the banks and use NAMA to acquire the lending, fell on our shoulders in circumstances where the loans will never be fully repaid because of the collapse in property prices? Maybe we will, but in a judgment delivered in Belfast’s High Court in April this year which has just now been published, we get an insight into lending practices at banks which seemingly show that there are two sides to the lender-borrower relationship.

full article at source:http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/northern-ireland-court-case-sheds-light-on-irish-banks-lending-practices-during-the-boom/

TD succeeds in prodding NAMA into action on developer business plan

By Namawinelake

Remember when NAMA was a glint in economist Peter Bacon’s eye? Way back when the Department of Finance was, according to Wikileaks, hinting that the haircut on loans would be closer to 50%? And when one of the greatest concerns was that this colossal new agency, the biggest quango in Irish history, would fall prey to cronyism and the sort of skulduggery that has long been a feature of public life in this country? This concern was going to be countered by strict NAMA anti-lobbying legislation that could land you in prison if you set out to corrupt NAMA’s purpose. And so it came to pass that section 221 of the NAMA Act tried to put pay to the gombeenism that has characterisedIrish life for decades if not centuries.

read full article at source :http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/td-succeeds-in-prodding-nama-into-action-on-developer-business-plan/


Cronyism is alive and well under Fine Gael and Labour too I see!

Focus Ireland

Dear Machholz,

I want to bring you up to date with our campaign to ensure that children who are in state care have a legal right to aftercare when they reach 18 years of age.

You will remember that we were lobbying hard under the last Government to get a legal right to aftercare included in the Childcare Amendment Bill. At the beginning of July, the new Government voted through the Childcare Amendment Bill – but without the change that would have made aftercare a legal right. Given the way that both Fine Gael and Labour supported this campaign while in opposition, this is very disappointing.

On the positive side the new Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, made a commitment to the Dáil and Seanad that she would consider whether legislation to guarantee the right to aftercare is necessary. It is depressing to see her repeat the same tired words of former Minister Barry Andrews that la ws that say the HSE ‘may’ provide aftercare actually mean that they ‘shall’. But Minister Fitzgerald’s progessive action in bringing forward legislation in many other areas of child protection must give us hope that this area will not be neglected. She promised to consider this issue in the context of legislation establishing her own Department and we will be working to ensure the case is strongly put to her.

If you want to read more about the Aftercare issue click here and follow the link at the end of the text, or to go straight to our analysis of the Oireacthas debate and its implications here.

In co-operation with ‘Action on Aftercare’, we are now looking at the wider range of legislation on this issue which exists in Northern Ireland and oth er countries, with a view to convincing Minister Fitzgerald that a broader range of legislation is required to ensure provision of effective aftercare to all who need it. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to let Minister Fitzgerald know that we are disappointed that the incoming Government did not live up to its promises in opposition. You can mail her here.

Finally, if you want to keep up with the broad range of Focus Ireland‘s advocacy work on homelessness and social housing, please subscribe to our new ‘Advocacy Update’ e-zine here.

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy, Development, Communications and Research

Links: http://takeaction.focusireland.ie/takeaction?i=12761764859163801

Link 2: http://focusireland.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f833aefd56e8a0fc1acc1ec85&id=7ab4747834

Why the €1bn NAMA provision for loan losses is bunkum

by namawinelake |

 May 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm  source URL: http://wp.me/pNlCf-1mA

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan gave the green-light this morning for the publication of the report and accounts for NAMA for the quarter ending 31st December, 2010. The outstanding feature of  the accounts is the €1bn provision that NAMA has created for losses on the loans it has acquired from the NAMA Participating Institutions (PIs – AIB, Anglo, Bank of Ireland, EBS and INBS). To summarise, NAMA has acquired loans worth €71bn at face value, paid €29bn for them but now believes the loans are worth €28bn. This entry examines the €1bn provision and argues that it vastly overestimates the current value of the loans that NAMA has acquired.
First up, it should be said that the €1bn provision is an estimate and is unaudited. But that said, NAMA claim that the full accounts for the agency were handed over to the agency’s auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, in February, 2011 so you would expect the €1bn provision to be not too far off what will be reported in NAMA’s audited annual accounts in June 2011. Secondly, the provision is prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and it is IFRS 9 that will be particularly applicable to the valuation of the €29bn of loans in the annual accounts; and that IFRS will still allow NAMA to value loans in the same optimistic way that banks here have been valuing loans in recent years. Although the IFRS is going through some changes, organisations like NAMA can, until 2013, choose a method of valuing loans which can be divorced from the underlying value of the security.
But if you were to revalue the loans by reference to their underlying value, I believe the loss booked at the end of 2010 should be closer to €3bn. Here’s why:
(1) We don’t have a precise breakdown of the location of NAMA assets but the latest we have from NAMA is that 67% of NAMA loans will be in the State, 6% inNorthern Ireland, 21% in the rest of theUKand 6% in the Rest of World.
(2) NAMA is valuing loans by reference to the 30th November, 2009
(3) Although NAMA has valued the current market values of loans by reference to 30th November, 2009 it had applied an uplift – a long term economic value premium – to help out the banks on the assumption that November 2009 was the bottom of the market. The average uplift applied appears to be 10%.
(4) NAMA is paying for loans with NAMA Bonds (making up 95% of the payment) and NAMA subordinated debt (making up the remaining 5%). The subordinated debt will only be honoured if NAMA makes a profit. So if NAMA makes a loss then these subordinated debt instruments won’t be honoured. NAMA paid roughly €29bn for the loans of which €1.5bn approximately was in subordinated debt.
(5) The breakdown of tranches 1 and 2 shows that 13% of the loans relate to completed residences. In addition 26% relates to development and presumably some will be residential. I assume that residential makes up 20% of all loans acquired in all territories. And commercial makes up the remaining 80%. NAMA has not issued any detailed breakdown of the loans since 23rd August 2010 when it provided details on tranche 2.
(6) Irelandand the UKcomprise the majority of NAMA assets. We keep track on here of the commercial and residential indices for bothIrelandand theUK. See the top of this page for the most up-to-date price movements. As you can seeIrelandhasn’t done so well whereas theUK’s commercial index has performed quite well.
(7) Taking into account the assumed split of NAMA’s loans between Ireland and the UK and the assumed split between residential and commercial and using the indices shown at the top of this page as at 31st December, 2010 and assuming that NAMA on average paid a 10% long term economic value premium but will not need honour its subordinated bonds if the agency makes a loss would point to the €29bn of loans being worth €25bn. NAMA won’t need honour €1.5bn of the €29bn consideration paid, if the agency makes a loss so taking €1.5bn from €29bn gives us NAMA’s consideration in a loss-making scenario, that is €27.5bn and yet the underlying security of the loans is only worth €25bn today. So NAMA should recognize a loss of €2.5bn.
What’s potentially wrong with the above?
(1) It uses a lot of assumptions – based on the best published information, I would argue, but assumptions nonetheless
(2) NAMA says that it found the value of residential property inIrelandto be an average of 50% off peak in November 2009 whereas the official index, the Permanent TSB/ESRI, indicated it was 30% off peak at that point. An implication is that NAMA’s losses on Irish residential property won’t be as great as the official index implies.
(3) NAMA claims, it is reported, that the “majority” of itsUKassets are inLondon. And it seems to be accepted thatLondonhas recovered from the 2007/8 financial crisis quicker than other parts of theUK(Northern Irelandstill seems to be suffering most).
(4) NAMA can claim that the relevant IFRS allows the agency not to value on the basis of underlying security.
And what about the future for NAMA?
NAMA was conceived on the principle that we were close to the bottom in terms of property prices in 2009. Minister Lenihan pointed to record high property yields at the time as indicative of the state of the market. He was wrong, or wrongly advised. The outlook for the residential market is still shaky forIrelandwith the Central Bank ofIrelandindicating in March 2011 that prices were still some 30% off the bottom. The CBI was more upbeat on commercial prices but it acknowledged if the government were to abolish Upward Only Rent Reviews that prices might fall another 20% plus. The outlook for theUKis more positive but there doesn’t appear to be a boom in prospect there – residential seems to be bouncing along more or less flat and commercial generally seems to be modestly increasing (less than 5% per annum). However NAMA is a 10-year project and part of the skill of managing assets will be in optimizing the timing of disposals. It’s a long way of saying that NAMA might see some recovery in prices though it needs also consider the ongoing interest charges on unredeemed NAMA bonds as well as its operating costs.
The agency has not had a good year in 2010. It lost more than €2m per day (based on an inception on 27th of March 2010, being 304 days to 31st December 2010 and a loss of €714m). However, even if prices had stayed flat, NAMA would still have potentially have reported a loss as it was paying a long term economic value premium to the banks. It remains to be seen if NAMA can turn a profit, it would be helpful to get some detail on the €3bn assets which the agency says has been approved for sale. The accounts today however do place NAMA at a disadvantage, just as Minister Noonan is considering the future operation of the agency.


So all we have here is yet another spin operation in progress to hide the real losses and guess who is responsible for all of this? the same backroom boys that put this whole fraud together in the first place because they are now working for NAMA

“improper and unlawful”

 by namawinelake

There was something surreal about lawyers in the High Court last October, 2010 acting for Paddy McKillen, casually referring to the €45m loan provided by Anglo to the developer as a participant in what has become known as the “Anglo Golden Circle” or “Anglo Maple 10” transaction whereby a group, reported to have been 10 of Anglo’s customers, were advanced some €450m in allegedly non-recourse loans to purchase shares being disposed of by tycoon, Sean Quinn. The reference to the loan in open court last October, 2010 had nothing to do with the probity/legality of the transaction, the purpose was to examine if the loans were performing or not in the context of NAMA’s rights to acquire the loans. At the time, it seemed decidedly surreal.
Surreal, because there have been several investigations into the so-called “Anglo Golden Circle” transaction over the past 28 months. Two of the investigations have been by the Gardai (Irish police service) and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Just before Christmas 2010, there was an indication that files were being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but four months later, there doesn’t appear to be any progress.
Of interest therefore is that a judge in Northern Irelandhas referred to the scheme in a judgment (not yet available online seemingly) reported yesterday by the BBC. The case inBelfast involves a company controlled by prominent Northern Irish developer, Peter Curistan on one side and Anglo Irish Bank on the other. There is a contention that another Northern Irish property company, PBN Property (now in NAMA incidentally) was favoured in a transaction involving Anglo and Peter Curistan. PBN Property is partly controlled by Paddy Kearney who is alleged to be one of the “Anglo Golden Circle”. The judge is reported to have called theGolden Circle transaction “a prima facie improper and unlawful proceeding”. One wonders what the process is inNorthern Ireland whereby a judge’s assessment of something as unlawful leads to a police inquiry. And on this side of the border, we continue to wonder when or even if, we will ever get legal clarity on what seems to have been a share support scheme.

source: URL: http://wp.me/pNlCf-1iP


Insider trading is the trading of a corporation‘s stock or other securities (e.g. bonds or stock options) by individuals with potential access to non-public information about the company. In most countries, trading by corporate insiders such as officers, key employees, directors, and large shareholders may be legal, if this trading is done in a way that does not take advantage of non-public information. However, the term is frequently used to refer to a practice in which an insider or a related party trades based on material non-public information obtained during the performance of the insider’s duties at the corporation, or otherwise in breach of a fiduciary or other relationship of trust and confidence or where the non-public information was misappropriated from the company

Irish Law on Insider trading :Insider%20Trading%20Law%20in%20Ireland

 The Golden Circle: There are a few different branches in the republic ,some in the financial sector and some are within the political elite of the country. Then there are the rest in prominent positions around the state guanos and the State media, illegal insider trading was carried out by one branch of the golden circle In the case of Anglo Irish Bank but we must also not forget that Irish Life and Permanent senior directors and other bank officials from the Department of Finance and the then financial regulator. None of the Golden circle has been brought before the courts for this specific crime why???  Now that we have a new Government what is taking them so long to bring these crooks to justice ?


A pub owner in Dublin was ordered to remove a 40-foot banner barring the Queen from his premises during her State visit to the Republic of Ireland.

John Stokes said he reluctantly agreed to take down the controversial sign after a senior Garda threatened to object to his application for six late licenses at Dublin District Court. The Judge is reported to have said “I’ve no doubt there will be a planning issue with a sign that size.”

Well now Mr. Judge what about the Union bosses in liberty hall they have a banner six floors high

   and they are not the only ones I saw two other large banners in the City center today.

 .Is it a case if I don’t like the person or message I make them take the banner down??

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