European Countries Focus On Drug Price Cuts
"European governments grappling to reduce large budget deficits are focusing their cost-cutting on a large spending item - pharmaceuticals," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Several countries in recent weeks, including Spain, Germany and Italy, have proposed or enacted reductions in what they will pay or taken other cost-control measures for various drugs. ... In Europe, state healthcare systems pay for the bulk of drug purchases. European governments have long been known for their frugality when negotiating prices with drug companies, but the latest cuts are more severe than usual. Europe is the second largest market after the U.S. for many drug companies."
The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the industry's main lobbying body in Europe, is warning of the economic consequences. In a statement, the group said the cuts would "sharply diminish revenues to manufacturers...with an impact on their R&D investments. This in turn will impact European economic recovery and employment" (Whalen, 6/3).