Drugmakers slam "punitive" German pricing measures
LONDON, June 8
LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - The pharmaceutical industry hit out on Friday at "punitive" measures introduced recently by Germany to rein in medicine costs, underscoring the growing pressure being felt by companies across Europe as governments cut healthcare budgets.
Manufacturers argue that unless Germany changes course its citizens will lose access to innovative modern medicines that are widely available in other countries.
"Recent years have seen the introduction of a series of punitive measures in Germany," Richard Bergstrom, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said in a statement.
"Germany has traditionally led the rest of Europe in providing quick access to new medicines for its citizens and recognising the value of new medicines and vaccines. This position is now under serious threat."
Drugmakers are particularly concerned at three changes in Germany in recent years - the introduction of a mandatory 16 percent price rebate; a reference pricing system linking German drug prices to those in countries like Greece; and an assessment system tying the price of new medicines to those of generics.
The warning on Germany comes in the same week as drug companies in Britain expressed concerns about a radical shake-up of Britain's drug pricing system from 2014.
In southern Europe, companies also face billions of euros in unpaid bills for medicines in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal - the countries at the centre of the euro zone crisis - making Europe an increasingly difficult marketplace.
Industry executives, including the chief executives of GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer, have recently warned that Europe is becoming less attractive and risks being relegated in importance compared to the two other main developed markets, the United States and Japan.