Germany mulls forced discounts, price freeze

The biggest European pharma market might get tougher. That's because Germany's health minister is so worried about the rising cost of drugs that he's considering compulsory discounts and price freezes, according to an internal ministry document obtained by Reuters.

Apparently, Minister Philipp Röesler asked a panel of experts to come up with proposals on how to save money on prescription drugs over the next few days. The ministry is finalizing its cost-cutting proposals, planning to announce them later this week. "Aside from long-term measures, short-term measures such as compulsory discounts and a price freeze are under discussion," the document said (as quoted by Reuters).

Plenty of countries do require drugmakers to negotiate discounts on their products. Japan has even been forcing pharma to cut its prices year after year, as a way to keep a lid on skyrocketing healthcare costs.

But until now, Germany hasn't engaged in any of those tactics. As detailed by the German magazine The Local, the ministry's proposals include a scheme that would require health insurers to negotiate for lower drug prices. Another proposal would force the pharma industry to adhere to set maximums. We'll keep you posted.

- read the Reuters piece
- get more from The Local