The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has called for the German government to take “urgent action” regarding its pricing system, which is perceived as hindering the market entry of new, innovative medicines in the country. In particular, EFPIA has become concerned by the fact that some global companies are choosing not to make certain new medicines available in Germany because of the current pricing measures.
At a recent meeting in Berlin, Richard Bergström, director general of EFPIA, explained that although it was appropriate for Germany to carefully control its healthcare budget, early experience with the system was “disappointing.” The measures imposed by the system have been described as “punitive” and include actions such as a 16% rebate system and the use of Greece (currently in the midst of a debt crisis) as a reference market for the price of pharmaceutical products. The assessment also uses generics for reference pricing.
“We have found the set-up very rigid,” said Bergström, in an EFPIA statement. “Unfortunately, many of our member companies have been forced to announce that several new medicines will not be made available in Germany, because the model seeks to base the price for new medicines on what is paid for much older, generic medicines.” EFPIA believes that price comparisons should be made with patented products, not generics, and that there should also be more “meaningful” discussions. In addition, EFPIA adds that the inclusion of Greece as a reference country for pricing may not be appropriate. Several pharmaceutical companies have lowered the prices of medicines in Greece because of the debt crisis, and EFPIA claims that it is important to acknowledge that some countries need to pay more in order to sustain innovation.
With reform still in the “learning phase,” EFPIA added that it is important for stakeholders to work together. Bergström said, “The original intent was good, but some things were lost in translation to the practical model.... The pharmaceutical industry, as EFPIA and its national association in Germany, vfa, remains constructive, and wishes to work with the German government and sickness funds to find a pragmatic solution.”