Italy: Pharmacy market is to become more liberal
Will pharmacy chains be allowed in Italy in the future? This question can only be answered if the house of representatives has voted for a liberalization of the pharmacy market. After some unsuccessful attempts, for example by corruption charges, it seems now that the government is willing to implement the reform project. In Italy there have been so-called parafarmacias since 2006, which are for example pharmacy stands in supermarkets where a pharmacist, who is registered in the professional association, advises clients and sells over-the-counter medicines (e.g. aspirin and other painkillers), homeopathic products, cosmetics and others. In these OTC shops, as the Parafarmacia are also called, however, no prescription, non-recoverable drugs can be sold, the Senate decided last year. For several years, however, supermarket chains like Coop have been fighting for more rights and drug categories. However, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin of the Nuovo Centrodestra is now fighting for the liberalization of the pharmacy market, as she considers that a restriction of four pharmacies per pharmacist is no longer up-to-date. In order to guarantee the survival of the pharmacies, the financial stability of the pharmacies is important, therefore the operation of pharmacies in corporations will be allowed. She was also the one who saved pharmacists‘ liability for the so-called List C.
Source: http://www.apotheke-adhoc.de/nachrichten/nachricht-detail/italien-apothekenketten-naechster-anlauf/ (Apotheke adhoc)
Stringent Health Care Cost Contingencies for Belgium and impact on Drug Spending in 2017
During the last control of the federal state budget, several cost saving measures were announced to cope with ever rising health care cost. A total of around 100 mils. € of cost savings were decided on the drug budget. These contain several initiatives that has impacts on prices as well as on volume. Measures such as the delisting of nasal corticosteroids and change of PPI reimbursement conditions will impact volume, but increasing quotas for the prescription of cheap medicines and subtractions of negotiated discounts and price decreases in the framework of article 81 negotiations from the gross budget to the net budget will also further increase downward pressure on prices. Total budget for 2017 is 4.102.8 million €.
Request for reimbursement of new drug approvals are therefore also meeting ever rising barriers to overcome. “Inappropriate budgeting process puts pressure on health care spending and does lead to inappropriate decisions with regards to the reimbursement of new approved medicines or health care technologies” said Dr Marc Czarka, Managing Partner of HM3A, Brussels. More than ever a careful preparation and implementation of a well thought market access strategy is key to success in Belgium.
The future of US Health is still unknown
Before the election of Mr. Trump as the next President of the US it seemed clear: For the Republicans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, was an „unpopular law“ and that Congress has already proven it could „repeal and replace“ it. Repealing the ACA was a priority for Republicans. Just some weeks after the election it sounds different: The Affordable Care Act is facing its last few months of existence as we know it. The law can’t be fully repealed – but the Republicans could use measures to defund much of the financial support for the law. The results of the election, has put the ACA “on life support.“ If defunded, more than 20 million people may lose or be priced out of their health coverage. Some of them will die because of losing health coverage. People who maintain their coverage will be under serious financial stress. Until now, there is no plan how the things will play out – it’s known, Mr. Trump prefers to help people keep their coverage, it’s unknown how that would look like. Right now, Mr. Trumps plan, doesn’t match with congressional Republicans‘ previous replacement attempts. After the elections, Republicans have floated plans that would bear some similarities to Obamacare, including tax credits to ensure continued expansion of coverage and methods of providing care for patients. One of the big questions is still open: How to keep alive the inability of insurers to deny people based on a preexisting condition without a mandatory health insurance system? Not only in the USA not all young healthy people are really convinced that they need health insurance. Without a mandatory health insurance system and the inability of insurers to deny insurance for already sick people, they would tend to stay out in millions, which would lead to the collapse of a system where overwhelmingly old people with needs are insured. So, the fight continues and it’s more an ideological than a logical controversy. Even “liberal” Republicans feel the self-build pressure from voters, which like to see the promise to “take down Obama care” implemented. The Trump election could be a negative for the ACA, for Medicare, the insurance for seniors and Medicaid, the health program for the poor’s. The Republicans now own the problems of health care, and they will be judged in future elections for how they address them. Even if he liked to do so, there is just a small chance for Mr. Trump to beat the hardliners in Congress, the pharmaceutical or insurance lobbyists, the American Medical Association (AMA) or other medical lobbyists. With the Republicans ruling the Senate, the Congress and having the White House it seems to be sure, the US Health market moves even more into privatization and it needs to be observed whether Mr. Trump can keep his promise “There will be a much better health care, for less money.
One year from now, we will know.
The pricing measures agreed include a 20% price cut on biologic medicines upon availability of a bio-similar and a 12.5% rebate on sales of that biologic medicine. The deal will also result in a 50% price cut on entry of a generic competitor to an off-patent medicine.
The Government has promised as part of the agreement that it will put in place a new streamlined process for drugs reimbursement.
US – Healthcare system today
Not only – but especially the US healthcare industry is currently undergoing a seismic shift. More than ever before consumers take a more active role in their healthcare decisions. One of the main reasons are the rising healthcare costs which are catalyzed by demographic and socioeconomic realities. On one hand U.S. is a hotbed of product innovation with new technologies and products, most of them initially very expensive. On the other hand, the U.S. outspends other countries in healthcare, with no clearly recognizable advantages compared to other Western nations, largely because of the heterogeneous population. The Baby Boomer generation have arrived in the life-stage where chronic conditions and health issues are more pronounced. Despite Obama Care (Affordable Care Act “ACA”) millions of consumers remain uninsured, many utilize emergency services inappropriately. The aim of ACA to increase access to healthcare, improve quality of care, and reduce costs, is supported by the health insurance exchanges which represent a significant shift toward engaging consumers on an individual level versus securing populations through negotiations with employers. Healthcare providers support integrated Electronic Health Records which will facilitate efficiencies in care, and help them to be reimbursed based on medical outcomes and patient satisfaction in the future. The answer for the question “free or more centralized health market” remains still open but may – based on the power of social media – soon be given by the fact of not affordable health care for millions.