Italy sharpens up for another €1B in health cuts

Europe's cost-cutting mania continues. Now, the Italian government plans another €1 billion in reductions to spending on drugs and medical products, The Financial Times reports, by centralizing government purchasing. Italian officials are meeting to finalize the terms and then put them into immediate effect by fiat.

Farmindustria, the drug industry association, is objecting to the spending reductions, joining a chorus of detractors. At an association meeting yesterday, President Massimo Scaccabarozzi said pharma has suffered €11 billion in cuts over the past five years. "[T]he limit has been reached," he said (as quoted by the FT).

Scaccabarozzi warned that another round of major spending reductions could trigger layoffs in the industry. More cuts could also prompt drugmakers to withhold their newer products from strapped Italian hospitals. "We understand we're part of public spending," he said. "But it can't always be just us to pay a disproportionate amount of the costs."

The Italian moves follow a series of drug-spending cuts across Europe. Debt-laden Spain and Greece have instituted the most radical changes, but Germany and France have also taken measures to curtail drug prices and save money on healthcare.

- read the FT story