Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We're all in this together!

Calls to ring-fence drug discounts for bailout nations

The head of Europe's drug industry has written to EU leaders ahead of their summit tomorrow seeking concessions to ensure that the sector can continue to export pharmaceuticals to crisis-hit countries such as Ireland and Spain.

Faced with deep price cuts, drug companies want special measures to prevent discounts offered in southern Europe and Ireland from being exported to rich states in the north where governments can afford to pay for innovation.

GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Andrew Witty, who heads Europe's pharmaceuticals association, said failure to ring-fence austerity cuts would undermine a sector that provides 660,000 European jobs.

Mr Witty said the cost of pharmaceuticals in Ireland and other bailout states should not be included in a European basket of pharmaceuticals prices, which health services across Europe use to determine how much they should pay for drugs.

The letter said concessions made to bailout countries contained "exceptional" price cuts worth €7bn and discounts to national health services.

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