ITALIAN GROUPS CALL FOR PRICE CUT ENFORCEMENT
Italy's Health Minister is to meet with Italian consumer groups in order to discuss new price controls for "Class C," or non-reimbursed, drugs, which include both OTC and some prescription products.
Under a new law that took effect in June, pharmacists are obliged to cut the price of Class C medicines by 20%, and provide generic equivalents. The government hopes that the decree -- intended to boost competition -- will save consumers EUR284mn (US$346.85mn).
However, consumer groups claim that 35% of consumers are unaware of the new legislation, with an estimated 59% unable to obtain a discount. Advocacy groups such as Codacons are now calling for more stringent price monitoring from the government.
Italy's pharmacy association Federfarma has attacked the decree, arguing that drug companies -- rather than pharmacists -- should implement the cuts. Federfarma claims that some medicines are 40% more expensive in Italy than elsewhere in the European Union (EU). The groups adds that if the legislature can convince drugmakers to cut prices for vaccines, then this should also be possible for Class C products.