FFE Magazine

Belgium soon to see a drop in drug prices

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Health minister Maggie De Block and Belgian pharmaceutical organisations Pharma.be and FeBelGen signed an agreement on Monday which will see an overall drop in the price of generic drugs for patients.   Presented as a ‘win-win’ pact, the agreement foresees a raft of changes to the pharmaceutical industry for 2015-2018 that should benefit the industry, patients and the state.   Due to a legal amendment, patients will in future have quicker access to innovative treatments. They will also see a reduction in their medical bills. Generic drugs (which enter the market once the original patent has expired) will be cheaper than they currently are – this measure is expected to result in €60 million of savings by 2018 on drug costs.   By favouring the sale of generic drugs (since this year doctors have been requested to prescribe 50% generic drugs), it is expected that the social security budget will remain manageable even though the number of elderly people and chronic illnessess is increasing every year. Promised margins could also enable the release of a substantial budget to finance major pharmaceutical innovation, critical to maintaining the pharmaceutical sector.   The pharmaceutical sector is looking forward to benefit from a reduction in their contributions on turnovers in 2017 (from 7.73% to 6.73%) and the presence of a stable multiannual budgetary framework within which to operate.   “We are delighted to sign today a unique, historic and ambitious pact,” said Catherine Rutten, CEO of Pharma.be. “We are convinced that it will act as a lever for strengthening Belgium’s leading position in the pharmaceutical industry.” “The pact could be a first for Europe, so our foreign colleagues will be observing us with great interest,” said Joris Van Assche, managing director of FeBelGen. With The Bulletin          

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