REGIONAL TENSIONS HIT SPAIN'S DRUG SECTOR POLICY
Spain's reimbursable drug prices are currently rising in line with GDP, according to statistics released by local drug industry federation FEFE. The Ministry of Health, which has been aggressively reducing its drug bill since 2000, is reportedly pleased that costs appear to be on target for the year.
In August, however, drug spending rose 8.7% amid soaring consumption, suggesting that the government's success has been far from even. The rise in drug costs has occurred primarily in Spain's autonomous regions and reflects a tendency for regional authorities to refuse to follow the central government's tough line on pharmaceutical costs. Lower average incomes, prescribing changes and ageing populations have also left these areas more reliant on state-reimbursed medicines.
Healthcare officials also complain that Spain's drug industry is too heavily concentrated in Barcelona and Madrid, which account for 80% of annual output. Local officials in Andalucia are calling for greater investment in their region's medical research industry, claiming that local drugs bills are among Spain's highest.