Could European price cuts dig deeper?

Drugmakers have been wringing their hands over new price cuts in Europe. And no wonder: Country after country has announced plans to save cash by slashing their prescription drug costs. But it could be worse. Especially if policymakers listen to a new report for the German government.

The report shows that, in comparison with Sweden, Germany pays 48 percent higher prices for branded drugs and 98 percent higher prices for generics. If Germany would just cut its drug prices to be on par with the Scandinavian nation, it could save €9.4 billion a year, the report concludes.

By contrast, the government's current cost-cutting plans aim to save €2 billion annually, a target that has drawn criticism in some quarters as too timid, PharmaTimes reports. Not in industry circles, of course; drugmakers that do big business in Europe have downgraded sales targets and warned investors that pricing pressures will hamper growth. In Greece, which is also pushing drug prices lower, some 50 drugmakers have lodged complaints with the government.

- read the PharmaTimes piece
- see the story at Welt Online (in German)
- get more from PharmaTimes

ALSO: Merck's New Zealand unit has agreed to halve the retail price of cholesterol drug ezetimibe, sold in the U.S. as Zetia, to make it available to more people in that country. Report

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