Spain to cut drugs bill to save EUR 400m
24 November 2004, MADRID- Spain's Socialist government plans to reduce the influence of pharmaceutical companies on the way doctors prescribe drugs in an effort to curb healthcare costs which rose 12.5 percent in 2003 alone, a health ministry spokesman said.
24 November 2004
MADRID- Spain's Socialist government plans to reduce the influence of pharmaceutical companies on the way doctors prescribe drugs in an effort to curb healthcare costs which rose 12.5 percent in 2003 alone, a health ministry spokesman said.
The plan would have the effect of reducing pharmaceutical prices.
The spokesman said the plan had been unveiled to Spain's autonomous regions which have responsibility for health matters.
The regions still have to give the green light to the project, which would then be rolled out gradually over three years and which has raised opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.
One of 67 measures is for a national agency to produce information on pharmaceutical products from 2005, including via the internet.
The ministry also hopes to trim the price of most medicines by four percent in 2005 and a further two percent in 2006, which would bring the government, which subsidises many products, savings of about EUR 400 million (USD 520m).
The government is also looking to boost provision of generic drugs, or treatments using the same molecule but different brand name from patented drugs, which currently account for only six percent of drug treatments provided.
The government wants to increase information about generic treatments while slashing pharmacies' profit margin from 33 percent to 27 percent.
Farmaindustria, representing Spain's pharmaceutical industry, reacted to the proposals with a statement saying it rejected lowering the prices of medicine as such a move, in its view, "would seriously endanger" investment in research and development in the sector.
But the government is determined to act to bring expenditure under control after it hit nine billion euros last year following the 12.5 percent rise on 2002 which was almost double a government projected 6.5 percent, based on health ministry figures.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news