Politicians are wrong to say drug prices are high, manufacturers say

Politicians are wrong to say drug prices are high, manufacturers say
Politicians are wrong to say drug prices are high, manufacturers say

Photo: Freepik.com

Over the past four years, the increase in the average price of a prescription drug per package has not reached the average of inflation. And for the 100 best-selling prescription drugs, the price per package fell by three percent last year. This is according to IQVIA data.

In 2019, manufacturers supplied one package of prescription medicine for an average of 264 crowns. Last year it was 23 crowns more, i.e. 287 crowns. When compared with average inflation data over the past five years [+8,2 %] so it follows that the prices of prescription drugs have been increased only slightly by the manufacturers in recent years.

“The real prices of prescription drugs in pharmacies in the Czech Republic have been falling for the past five years. This means that the growth of their prices was significantly lower than the growth of the consumer price index. While prescription drugs had a compound annual growth rate of 2.1 percent, consumer prices were up 8.3 percent.” says IQVIA’s director for the Czech and Slovak market, Martin Fiala.

According to him, the reason is the regulation of the maximum price of medicines, which does not allow the increased costs of production, such as energy costs and other items, to be fully reflected in the prices.

“The claim that we have expensive medicines in the Czech Republic does not apply both to patient co-payments and to reimbursements by health insurance companies,” adds Martina Fiala, executive director of the Czech Association of Pharmaceutical Companies [ČAFF] Philip Vrubel.

The problem is the low prices of medicines in the Czech Republic, says Prymula

For Hello News then he clarifies that the current goal of drug manufacturers is not to change the mechanism for setting drug prices in the Czech Republic, but to draw attention to the fact that the increasingly frequent proclamations by some politicians that drug prices in the Czech Republic are high are not true. And that they grow quickly.

“On the contrary, the drug segment is one of the most effective in the entire Czech healthcare sector,” he says.

As for the change the mechanism for setting drug prices in the Czech Republicwhich is not at all simple, then adds that only for some groups of drugs that are critical in terms of availability, where a failure of competitiveness is evident, it is worth considering adopting a tool to quickly and effectively intervene in the price of these drugs.

Prices for the 100 best-selling prescription drugs

The IQVIA company compared the prices of the hundred best-selling prescription drugs in Czech pharmacies last year. The data showed that over the past four years, the prices of the TOP 100 drugs, which include, for example, drugs for blood clotting, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, have fallen by an average of three percent per year. Most between 2020 and 2021.

However, as it follows from the data of the company IQVIA, this does not mean that the prices of prescription drugs in the Czech Republic are only falling. In the last two years, on the other hand, their price per package has risen by five percent year-on-year.

“But it’s still below inflation,” points out Vrubel.

In fact, the average inflation rate for 2022 has reached 15 percent. For the whole of last year, it was 10.7 percent on average. And a comparison of the increase in the price of prescription drugs with the increase in inflation proves the bearable prices of drugs in the Czech Republic, according to the executive director of the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry [AIFP] David Kolar.

“The price level of medicines in the Czech Republic is generally among the lowest in Europe,” he says.

He explains that the price of medicines in our country is determined as the average of the three lowest prices of the given medicine in the countries of the reference basket. At the same time, the manufacturer may not place the medicine on the market at a price higher than the maximum. At the same time, health insurance companies and the State Institute for Drug Control [SÚKL] they have the tools to lower the price even more.

The Germans will withdraw the missing medicines from other countries. He just overpays them

He also draws attention to the fact that many medicines are exported from the Czech Republic. Most of the drugs are exported to Germany. This is due to both the lower price of drugs in the Czech Republic and the active drug policy of Germany. It purposefully, as he said, searches for cheaper drugs in other European markets and buys them.

“Medicines are really not the main expenditure that would tend to grow significantly within all healthcare expenditure in the Czech Republic. However it is a media-attractive topic,” supplies.

Supplements for medicines are not increasing significantly either

IQVIA’s data also shows that patient co-payments for drugs are not growing as fast as inflation. Four years ago, the average surcharge for one package was 60 crowns, last year it was 71 crowns.

“In addition to a slight increase in the manufacturer’s price, if the regulated price still allowed it, the higher surcharge is due to lower contributions, reimbursements from insurance companies, which are regularly reduced,” it stands in the company’s analysis.

The less the insurance company contributes to the payment of the medicine, the more the patient pays for the co-payment. According to IQVIA data, the average surcharge for packaging has risen by 11 crowns over the last four years.

Pharmacists could now monitor drug co-payments directly

“The role of surcharges is not a decisive indicator of the trend in the development of prices, because more than half of prescription drugs, 3,581 drug variants in the Czech Republic, are available to patients without a surcharge,” says Filip Vrubel, adding that the Czech healthcare system is “extremely supportive” of patients.

Both the director of ČAFF and the director of AIFP then for Hello News ruled out that they would be interested in the Czech Republic establishing fixed co-payments for medicines. This is demanded, for example, by representatives of the Czech Chamber of Pharmacy [ČLnK].

“Basically, we think that fixed co-payments are not what would help Czech patients. The patient benefits from the fact that we have competition between pharmacies in the area of ​​co-payments. If we introduced fixed co-payments, the patient would lose this advantage,” stated David Kolář from AIFP.


The article is in Czech

Tags: Politicians wrong drug prices high manufacturers


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