February 02, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
This last Thursday, January 31st, the president of the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Company Bial announced, in an interview conducted to Porto Canal (a regional television channel), that they are postponing the production of a new Parkinson drug.
Luís Portela stated that this was a project that was intended to start at the end of the last year, but due to budget constraints, mostly derived from the successive cuts in drug prices by the Portuguese Government and diminished profit margins, it had to be stalled from two to two and a half years.
“Since we don’t have money to invest, we have to delay what we have been doing. This has been absolutely fundamental for us, as it has been ten years of great sacrifices, ten years where our drug prices have been slashed by 40%”.
These price cuts were felt in a decrease of the investment capacity of the company, said the president. He stated that while drug price cuts “are positive in a short term, as people have to pay less for drugs, in the long run they are quite negative, as they don’t guarantee sufficient profit margins for a company to properly finance new projects”. And since Portugal has one of the lowest drug prices in Europe, he considers that an alternative solution to reducing drug expenditure must be found, to ensure that companies have the capital to invest in projects and bring wealth to the country.
On the subject of the national economic crisis, Luís Portela stated that while he deems some measures taken by the government as “courageous”, he expressed concern that the economic development of Portugal is being overlooked, and that not enough is being done to create wealth to pay off the national debt and create new jobs.