Cost-Cutting Hits Hungarian, Polish Drug Prices

May 18, 2005

The latest official price and production statistics from Hungary and Poland indicate that government measures to control rising drug prices are continuing to bite.

In Poland, consumer pharmaceuticals prices increased 3.1% year-on-year in the first quarter, against a 3.6% rise in the consumer price index in the period. The government has recently moved to reform heavy consumer reimbursement costs in the country. Nevertheless, Poland's generics-dominated reimbursement list appears to be having the desired effect of restraining price growth below inflation.

Meanwhile, Hungary's drug prices rose 0.6% in April 2005 and 10.9% year-on-year. The results confirm that last year's sharp price rises are a thing of the past, as the consumer price index rose only 0.3% in the month and 7.6% on the yearly comparison. In the first quarter as a whole, pharmaceuticals production also declined by 8.2%, with domestic sales falling 4.6% year-on-year and exports slumping 15.9%. Like Poland, Hungary has tightly controlled reimbursement in recent months, mainly through an industrial agreement freezing many drug prices until December 2006.