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EU Court, incentives for cheaper drugs

 Financial incentives for doctors to encourage the prescription of cheaper drugs. Provided that the public authorities ensure that this incentive scheme is based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria and make therapeutic evaluations transparent, in particular
This principle is supported by the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the judgment issued in response to the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. The case, on which the European judges ruled, in fact concerns the financial incentives set up in England and Wales and their compatibility with the European directive on medicines for human use. The latter prohibits, in the context of the promotion of medicinal products among doctors or pharmacists, granting, offering or promising them financial or kind advantages. To reduce expenditure on medicines, the English and Welsh public health authorities have set up a financial incentive scheme for white coats to prescribe to their patients medicines that are cheaper than others in the same therapeutic category. The case before the EU Court mainly discusses the prescription of statins, anti-cholesterol drugs. In today's ruling, the Court notes that "the directive's prohibition mainly concerns the promotion activities of the pharmaceutical industry" and aims to "prevent promotional practices which could influence doctors by inciting them to pursue an economic interest when prescribing medicines". On the other hand, it does not concern "the national authorities responsible for public health - it is underlined - competent to guarantee the application of the directive and to define the priorities for health policy action, in particular with regard to the rationalization of public expenditure".

DoctorNews – 23 April 2010 – Year 8, Number 72

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco