Abusively-priced medicine could destroy health system finances

DOCTORS fear that abusive pricing of new drugs to treat hepatitis C could destroy the Spanish National Health System’s finances.

Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin, head of the College of Medicine Organisation (OMC), warned that if accepted, the prices could open the way for other new medicines awaiting approval.

Sendin said the difference in price between new oral anti-viral drugs, which varies between €50-100 per patient in India and €69,000 in the US, was absolutely senseless.

Sendin declared that he considered the manufacturers of the medicines were looking for too much profit and called the pricing policy greedy, while recommending that the government should remind pharmaceutical companies that public health is of the utmost importance.

The OMC leader also criticised the European Union’s inability to negotiate a group price for member countries.

Sendin also warned that delays in access to safe and efficient new drugs could result in lawsuits.

As a solution, the OMC proposed creating a specific fund for hepatitis C treatment and modifying the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the health system.

More than 500,000 patients in Spain are waiting for the drugs, while the health system apparently lacks sufficient funds to cover them, Sendin declared.

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