Over the past years, the exorbitant prices of new medicines have been making headlines across Europe. Before a new medicine hits a national market, there are usually price negotiations between the drug manufacturer and the national authority. However, there is currently an asymmetry of information in these talks to the disadvantage of national authorities, who must largely negotiate in the dark.
This situation blindfolds governments and weakens their ability to set fair prices. High medicines prices put public health budgets under pressure. As a result, governments may decide not to reimburse medicines – or reimburse them only partially – with patients and consumers bearing the costs. Some patients are simply not able to afford the medicine they need, which can have serious implications for their health.
To get better deals during pricing negotiations, national authorities should be able to access the following information about a given medicine:
1. The price paid by other countries after any type of discount, in order to have an accurate benchmark.
2. The amount spent by companies in developing the medicine, to ensure that profit margins are reasonable and not excessive.
3. The public contribution to drug development through research funding and other incentives, to ensure that these contributions are factored into the prices paid by consumers at the pharmacy.
Additionally, to hold governments accountable and to increase public trust, it is essential that adequate information about medicines pricing and reimbursement is provided to the public.
VIDEO: Why should we all be concerned by medicines high prices?, February 2021.
In recent years, the prices of some medicines have been skyrocketing. It puts a huge financial pressure on our health systems and could deprive patients of the treatments they need.
We spoke to four people who experienced high prices first-hand. Their stories show why it is high time medicines became affordable. Watch the video here.
Thank you to our member organisations: EKPIZO (Greece), Forbrugerradet Taenk (Denmark), OCU (Spain), Test Achats/Test Aankoop (Belgium).