The increasing drug prices in Europe

Vytenis Andriukaitis

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Food Safety, and Carlos Moedas, Member of the EC in charge of Research, Science and Innovation, awarded the “Horizon Prize – Better Use of Antibiotics” and “The EU Health Awards for NGO’s fighting Antimicrobial Resistance” at a ceremony hold in Leuven. © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus.

This article was written by one of our passionate readers, Mrs Rachel Everly. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.

Rising drug prices have not been a recent issue, it has always been a part and parcel of the medical expenses. Not only is the United States suffering through a spike in the prices of medicines, but European medical bills have taken a toll for the worse as well. Prior to that, Europe had refrained from huge raises in the prices and until 2011, the selling price of many prescription pills had been steadily low.

Since most of the European nations are funding the healthcare systems on a government level, it is only understandable that they would want to keep a close track of the pharmaceutical industry. Due to this reason, the European Pharmaceutical companies are known to work on laws and regulations that restrict them from increasing the prices of the medicines for more than once a year. The price, profits, and comparison of the prices with the international market were always screened and assessed throughout the year without adjusting the prices.

In 2011, many European countries saw a gradual rise in multiple medicines and the rates have been rising ever since, without any restriction. This will affect many consumers and the fee structure of their individual health plans. To counter this problem, European Parliament’s environment Committee (ENVI) is favoring a non-legislative proposition that will strive for making these products more widespread in the European region. However, this must not be confused with an actual law being added in the region’s policies, as it is merely a resolution waiting to be approved by the authorities. With time, it may be considered and the European Union may only then choose to implement it.

The price of specific drugs has been a matter of huge concern for the public. Looking at the prices of those medicines in the previous years has shown an increase in prices for as much as over 1000%. Drugs that are used for leukemia patients have an increased price of 1225%, while tamoxifen, which is used primarily for breast cancer has risen by 1080% from 2011 to 2016. A chemotherapy drug has seen a spike of 1500% but later was fined for 5 million euros for an illegal increase in the price.

Charges of relatively new drugs that have little to no competition are also in the race for increasing their prices up to stupendous amounts. Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer treatment drugs are hiking due to lack of competition and insurance companies and pharmacy beneficiaries are losing against keeping these companies at bay.

The setting not only destabilizes the people who are insured but deeply affects the people who chose not to be insured or cannot afford healthcare. Previously, a person who could not have afforded to have themselves operated could find comfort in medicines. The same is not the case anymore and medical prescription drugs have become even more unattainable than before for many uninsured people out there. Seniors who have retired and do not have an insurance plan can also be looking at paying higher prices than they have previously been paying.

It has been debated for more than one year that the prices of the drugs do not represent the true cost of its production. It is concluded that the price of its manufacturing is far lower than the price label put on the product.  Most of these increments in prices have more to do with profits for these drug manufacturing companies and little to do with the increasing demands and lack of supply. To counter any research and development aspect of a new drug and decrease its cost, the patient-driven research is promoted. This means that the patient can sponsor the research and have the cure developed and tested.

Another speculation that has also been made is that due to the fact that they are only allowed to raise the costs once a year. This has made the marketers overly cautious and in order to withstand any possible demand and supply problem, or a price hike in the global market, they increase their rates by a huge percentage.

In order to provide a safer and more affordable plan for the healthcare system, the government, the people, and the drug manufacturers must work together. More and more efforts have been put on by EU health ministers in 2016 to warn the pharmaceuticals to lower the prices down as it has created a market that is highly unapproachable.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Join the Hive!

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

International community makes important progress on the tax challenges of digitalisation

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

Syria: ‘Violence, displacement’ and cold kill 11 infants ‘in the past two days’

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Did young people just kill television?

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Guatemala: UN anti-corruption body will continue working, as Constitutional Court blocks Government expulsion

Can the US deal a blow to EU and Russia together over Ukraine?

How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Greenpeace’s saints and sinners in the tech world

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

MEPs commend Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Celebrating the Customs Union: the world’s largest trading bloc turns 50

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Parliamentary bid to democratize Myanmar constitution a ‘positive development’ says UN rights expert

UN chief encourages victims of terrorism to ‘raise up their voices’

‘Deteriorating’ human rights in Belarus amounts to ‘wholescale oppression’: UN expert

Businesses succeed internationally

As human genome editing moves from the lab to the clinic, the ethical debate is no longer hypothetical

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] The cost of new medical technologies and drugs remains the primary cause of the high rate of medical inflation: this is why a discussion at European level with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations is still open: drug pricing is at the top of the bill. […]

  2. […] Il costo di nuove tecnologie e medicinali rimane la causa principale dell’aumento dei tassi di inflazione medica: questo è il motivo per cui a livello europeo è in corso una discussione con l’Associazione Europea delle Compagnie Farmaceutiche. Il punto principale dell’agenda è sempre quello: il continuo aumento dei medicinali. […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s