Czech Drugmakers File EC Pricing Complaint

March 31, 2005

Czech ethical drugmakers' group MAFS has filed a complaint with the European Commission on its members' behalf. The association claims that current pricing structures in the Czech Republic lack transparency, and an absence of clear regulation is denying consumers access to innovative drugs with clear therapeutic advantages over existing treatments.

Complaints over pricing, also voiced by generics makers' groups, have focused on the Czech health minister's recent decision to abolish the country's reimbursement price-fixing body and assume personal responsibility for drug pricing. MAFS claims the move is in violation of European Union (EU) rules, although the Czech Republic has yet to incorporate important EU drug price directives into domestic law.

Even before the health ministry's latest move, reimbursement levels were already strictly controlled, and drug prices remain among the lowest in Europe. The fact that full reimbursement is often limited to little more than one product in each therapeutic category, and such reference products are usually generics, has remained a concern for leading international drugmakers operating on the US$2.3bn Czech drug market.