Austerity measures introduced in Portugal affect generics

Home/Policies & Legislation | Posted 18/06/2010 post-comment0 Post your comment

Portugal has introduced new measures, published in Portugal’s official journal, Diário da República, which aim to increase domestic access to medicines, stimulate the uptake of generics and make the reimbursement system more efficient. However, both the generic medicines and R & D-based industry have criticised the measures.

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In a bid to generate cost savings, new generic medicines will be priced at 5% below the retail prices of the lowest-priced generic medicines already on the market.

These latest price cuts come on top of continued cuts by the Portuguese government starting in 2001, with the implementation of regulations ensuring that the price of generic medicines are at least 35% lower than those of originator medicines. This was followed in 2007, with further reductions of 6% for all medicines, and with reductions for generic medicines of 3–5% dependent on their market share. Then again, in 2008, a further price reduction of 30% was enforced on generic medicines approved prior to April 2008.

These latest cuts have been criticised as creating an overly aggressive pricing policy, which is damaging for the generic medicines industry and as having profound implications on investment and employment in the sector. It has also been suggested that the government is not doing enough to actually encourage the use of cheaper generic medicines.

This may not be the end of Portugal’s price-cutting measures, as the need to reduce its fiscal expenditure may cause the government to implement further price cuts in 2010 in order to provide savings. The Portuguese government has referenced the price of new medicines against prices in France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Therefore, any cuts in medicine prices in these countries will most likely cause a knock-on-effect in Portugal.

(see also Spanish government introduces harsh generic price cuts and Italian austerity measures include generic price cuts)

Reference:

Diário da República (GRD) [Spanish]

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