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European Commission calls for wider use of generic medicines Posted 23/04/2012

At the 10th International Symposium on Biosimilar Medicines, organised by the European Generics medicines Association, held in London, UK, on 19–20 April 2012; the European Commission (EC) highlighted the need to stimulate wider use of generic medicines.

European Commission stimulates use of generic medicines as part of aid package for Greece and Portugal
The healthcare industry is an important economic factor in all developed countries.  In 2008 Europe was spending around 9% of the GDP on health care. Pharmaceuticals represent a considerable percentage of this budget, with a large variation between countries. The penetration of generic medicines varies also considerably in European countries, which means that important potential for savings on the drug budget is underutilised. For this reason, the policy towards generic medicines is under scrutiny by the EC, in particular in those countries that suffer most from the current financial and economic crisis. Mr Nils Behrndt, Deputy Head of Cabinet DG Sanco, European Commission, speaking at the 2012 Biosimilar Medicines: 10th EGA International Symposium in London on 20 April 2012, found it rather striking that countries that suffer most from the financial crisis, like Greece and Portugal, have relatively high drug budgets and low generics penetration (less than 20%). The high spending on drugs is compromising the sustainability of the healthcare system in Greece and Portugal.  As part of the efforts to help these countries overcome the financial crisis the EC is developing plans to increase the proportion of generics prescribing in these countries by removing barriers against their use. Portugal for instance has specific importation barriers towards generic and biosimilar drugs that the EC wishes to be resolved.

Reported by Professor Arnold Vulto, Honorary Adviser, GaBI

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