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Health Ministry plans drug market reform

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Health Ministry plans drug market reform
Giving new meaning to Big Pharma. Photo: DPA
12:34 CET+01:00
Philipp Rösler's Health Ministry is planning a radical restructuring of the billion-euro German pharmaceutical market, aimed at lowering the cost of new drugs.

According to news magazine Focus, a panel of experts commissioned by Rösler has presented a plan, similar to one already used in many western European countries, whereby drug manufacturers have to negotiate with the state health insurance companies for lower prices.

Health Ministry calculations predict that a minimum of €2 billion could be saved per year by this scheme. Whenever a new drug is registered, pharmaceutical companies would be obliged to produce a scientific study that shows for which patients and/or illnesses it can provide an additional medical use.

The manufacturer will be forced to show whether any equivalent medication already exists, or whether it is completely new.

For any medication that is new, health insurance companies must negotiate for a lower price, the magazine said. The umbrella organisation for the insurance companies should also create framework contracts and allow individual insurance companies to work out the details with the drug companies.

The drug industry could also be forced to adhere to a maximum price, and the rules would also be applied to drugs already on the market.

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