September 26, 2005

Spanish drug industry federation Farmaindustria has criticised a draft healthcare bill, which aims to cut pharmaceutical spending in the country, claiming that it will have a negative impact on industry employment and investment.

The draft law includes a planned 20% price reduction in the reference prices of all medicines first marketed over 10 years ago. This comes in addition to a recently implemented 4.2% price cut for all drugs that have been on the market for over a year. Spain's drug spending has been soaring of late, rising 9% in August to reach EUR783.6mn (US$945.19mn).

Farmaindustria wants the legislation amended, so that innovative new drugs are exempted and the 20% price reduction is not applied retroactively. The body has also called for all reference prices for drugs to be calculated by active ingredient rather than brand name, which it claims will ensure that prices do not fall by more than 20%. A plan to discount drug prices according to the volume of sales to the national health system was also opposed.

Spain's government has been aggressively reducing its drugs bill since 2000, and has introduced various measures, including price freezes, reductions of wholesaler and retailer margins and cuts to the list of reimbursable drugs.

Farmaindustria claims that government price restrictions, duties imposed on R&D and a policy requiring extra customs documentation for imported antipsychotics, could cost the industry as much as EUR1bn (US$1.21bn) by 2007.