March 1, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
Brand drugs will see their price dropped starting April 1, under the new legislation published yesterday. This is due to the annual price adjustment and the new reference countries for Portugal – Spain, France and Slovakia.
Infarmed estimates that this price drop will allow users to save 49 million euros this year. State savings will be around 85 million euros.
Brand drugs, in average, will see a 7% price reduction. Marketing authorization holders or their representatives must submit by March 15 the listings of prices to be charged, which come into effect on April 1, 2013.
The price of generic drugs remains the same, since their average price is already inferior to the prices of the new reference countries. Since the price of generics suffered a 75% decrease since 2008, it begs the question if their prices could go down any lower and still be profitable to generic drug makers.
However, the new legislation theoretically allows an increase in the price of generic drugs, since the Ministry of Health decided to end the 6% deduction in drug price in force since 2010. While the new price reduction discussed above aims to reduce drug prices, the fact is that by cutting the 6% deduction, justified by the government as no longer necessary under the new drug pricing scheme, it could lead to an increase in the price of generics, said Paulo Lilaia, President of the Portuguese generic drug association (APOGEN), in declarations to Jornal de Noticias. Infarmed denied these claims.
Last month, in an interview to Diário Economico, APIFARMA’s President João Almeida Lopes stated that the constant price drops in brand drugs by the government is having a harmful impact in the entire Portuguese pharmaceutical business, as rampant unemployment is hitting all sectors of the Industry in Portugal, which could lead to difficulties in the population’s access of medicines
Decreto-Lei n.º 34/2013 – February 27