The 10.41% retail price cuts announced by the economics ministry will be for a range of drugs used in the treatment of serious diseases, licensed for hospital use or prescribing by specialists only, and provisions will be put in place to enable patients to obtain them from pharmacies. The drugs involved have not been identified, but analysts at IHS Global Insight suggest that they will include biotechnology drugs used in the treatment of cancer, and possibly some orphan products. What is certain, they add, is that products whose prices are now to be cut will not be those which were included in the average 27% across-the-board price cut introduced by the government on a temporary basis in May.
Meantime, the national organisation for medicines (EOF) is preparing a second “negative” list of drugs that will no longer be entitled to reimbursement. 842 products will be on the list, including many for which over-the-counter (OTC) versions are already available, such as vitamin supplements, laxatives, antacids and obesity treatments, but the newspaper Naftemporiki reports that it will also include drugs which are generally prescription-only, such as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and treatments for erectile dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and smoking cessation.
Naftemporiki also reports that the introduction of the first negative list, in May, has resulted in a significant decline in sales of many of the 253 drugs for which reimbursement was withdrawn. This could indicate that some patients are no longer accessing essential drugs, which may lead to manufacturers cutting their prices to ensure that they can still afford the treatments they need after they are no longer reimbursed, it says.
In other news, it is reported that the repricing of around 12,000 drugs, based on the average of the three lowest-priced countries in the European Union (EU), has being delayed, but the new prices are expected to be implemented on September 1. They will replace May’s average 27% temporary cuts.