Discounts and Rebates Granted to Public Payers for Medicines in European Countries - Southern Med Review Vol 5 Issue 1 July 2012
(2012; 9 pages)


Objective: The objective of this study was to provide an overview about the existence and types of discounts and rebates granted to public payers by the pharmaceutical industry in European countries.

Methods: Data were collected via a questionnaire in 2011. Officials from public authorities for pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement represented in the PPRI (Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information) network provided the information and reviewed the compilation.

Results: Information is available from 31 European countries. Discounts and rebates granted to public payers by the pharmaceutical industry were reported for 25 European countries. Such discounts exist both in the in- and out-patient sectors in 21 countries and in the in-patient sector only in four countries. Six countries reported not having any regulations or agreements regarding the discounts and rebates granted by industry. The most common discounts and rebates are price reductions and refunds linked to sales volume but types such as in-kind support, price-volume and risk-sharing agreements are also in place. A mix of various types of discounts and rebates is common. Many of these arrangements are confidential. Differences regarding types, the organizational and legal framework, validity and frequency of updates and the amount of the discounts and rebates granted exist among the surveyed countries.

Conclusions: In Europe, discounts and rebates on medicines granted by the pharmaceutical industry to public payers are common tools to contain public pharmaceutical expenditure. They appear to be used as a complimentary measure when price regulation does not achieve the desired results and in the few European countries with no or limited price regulation. The confidential character of many of these arrangements impedes transparency and may lead to a distortion of medicines prices. An analysis of the impact on these measures is recommended.

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