Italian drug studies trigger government price cuts

Italy is set to cut some drug prices, but it's not a deficit-reduction move. It's the outcome of a pay-for-performance program launched in 2007. Under that program, drugs would be studied in real-world use, and prices renegotiated depending on how effective they proved to be.

Italy agreed to pay for 25 pricey drugs--mainly cancer meds and biologic treatments--provided that manufacturers set up "registers" of patients and track their responses, the Financial Times reports. Initial prices were discounted 20 percent to 30 percent, to be renegotiated after two years of study.

The first two-year studies are now complete, with results set for publication over the next several months, Italian officials tell the FT. Professor Guido Rasi, who heads up the Agenxia Italiano del Farmaco, says provisional analysis of that data indicated that prices for those drugs could be cut by 30 percent to 40 percent more. Meaning that the treatments weren't as effective as promised.

The cuts will come next year, Rasi says. Italy hasn't named the drugs that will be affected by the cuts, however.

- read the FT piece