Spanish minister pledges to cover pharma debts

Spain's new health minister met with the pharma industry yesterday, and she made a promise: The government will pay regional drug debts, countrywide. Those debts now amount to $7.47 billion, says Farmaindustria, which had asked for state-backed securities to cover the unpaid bills that have been stacking up for more than a year.

Health Minister Ana Mato didn't say when those debts would be covered, however. And she didn't back down from the government's previous pledges to trim spending on drugs, Reuters reports. She's promising to work with the industry on price-setting and a "stable and predictable" regulatory framework, aiming for consensus rather than unilateral moves by the government, says.

Spain is grappling with its deficit, and, as CorreoFarmaceutico reports, some regional governments continue to set drug budgets at levels that won't allow for debt repayments and cover ongoing usage, too. If the current defaults are fixed, then pharma companies could be staring at new unpaid bills by year's end.

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