Cost Containment: Impact and Consequences
(2008; 2 pages)


Pharmaceutical cost control measures are becoming more widespread and complex as national health systems are under continuous pressure due to ageing populations, increasing incidence of chronic disease, persistent inequalities, and rising citizen expectations of what their health systems should deliver. Often unpredictable pricing and reimbursement controls are employed at the national and, increasingly, regional levels in the name of achieving value for money. Yet, current approaches to pharmaceutical cost-containment may not achieve long term health care cost savings. In fact, by discouraging health care innovation and inhibiting access to innovative treatments for patients who need them, they may have a negative impact on long-term costs, health outcomes, and the availability of new medical innovations. Articles in this issue, based on presentations made at the 2007 European Health Forum Gastein, provide evidence and argumentation that cost containment policies should be assessed in terms of their long-term effect on budgets, health benefits and access to care. They highlight the need for health care systems to continuously monitor policy implementation and evaluate performance of individual policy measures in a transparent and robust manner.

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