- All > Medicine Information and Evidence for Policy > Medicines Policy
- All > Medicine Access and Rational Use > Pricing
- Keywords > cost containment
- Keywords > Drug Policy
- Keywords > financial and economic crisis
- Keywords > global economic crisis
- Keywords > Medicine Expenditures
- Keywords > medicines policy development
- Keywords > pharmaceutical policies
- Keywords > Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information (PPRI)
- Keywords > prices / pricing policy
- Keywords > reimbursement
(2011; 11 pages)
Objective: The objective of this paper is to analyze which pharmaceutical policies European countries applied during the global financial crisis.
Methods: We undertook a survey with officials from public authorities for pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement of 33 European countries represented in the PPRI (Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information) network based on a questionnaire. The survey was launched in September 2010 and repeated in February 2011 to obtain updated information.
Results: During the survey period from January 2010 to February 2011, 89 measures were identified in 23 of the 33 countries surveyed which were implemented to contain public medicines expenditure. Price reductions, changes in the co-payments, in the VAT rates on medicines and in the distribution margins were among the most common measures. More than a dozen countries reported measures under discussion or planned, for the remaining year 2011 and beyond. The largest number of measures were implemented in Iceland, the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Greece, Spain and Portugal, which were hit by the crisis at different times.
Conclusions: Cost-containment has been an issue for high-income countries in Europe – no matter if hit by the crisis or not. In recent months, changes in pharmaceutical policies were reported from 23 European countries. Measures which can be implemented rather swiftly (e.g. price cuts, changes in co-payments and VAT rates on medicines) were among the most frequent measures. While the “crisis countries” (e.g. Baltic states, Greece, Spain) reacted with a bundle of measures, reforms in other countries (e.g. Poland, Germany) were not directly linked to the crisis, but also aimed at containing public spending. Since further reforms are under way, we recommend that the monitoring exercise is continued.