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After years of stress and cuts, the budget of the "pills" charged to the NHS is tinged with pink: the 2007 accounts could recover, remaining within the ceiling of 13% of the total expenditure of the sector. For 2008 however, the overall budget for local spending (drugs collected from pharmacies, editor's note) available to the Regions will rise by 1 billion, however also including the cost of drugs purchased with the legal discount and distributed - directly or through pharmacies – from local health authorities and hospitals.
The limits of availability for 2008 are set by the Health decree dated 20 December (Gazzetta n. 2 of 3 January) which sets the funds available to the Regions at 13.79 billion, equal to 14% of total health expenditure as envisaged by the tax related to the 2008 Budget Law (see table opposite).
Good news also comes from the Federfarma observatory (private pharmacies) on the 2007 accounts: net spending on the NHS in 2007 should settle at around 11,570 million (well below the 13% ceiling, equal to 12,229, envisaged by the 2007 Budget), with a decrease of 6% compared to 2006 spending. The figure – according to what Federfarma reported to «Il Sole 24 Ore» – is based on the estimate of an increase in spending of 2% in the last two months of 2007, which confirms the balance released by pharmacies during the Christmas break, reporting in October the first increase in net NHS spending in a year (+2.4% over October 2006) against a positive January-October trend (-7.7%).
The savings - explains Federfarma - derive above all from the prescription of lower priced drugs - a phenomenon mainly determined by the cuts imposed by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) - and from the greater impact of generics (+24.1% in the first nine months, according to estimates Osmed) which reduced the average value of the prescription by 11.5 percent. However, the expiry of patents on high-consumption drugs will also weigh on the 2008 accounts – Federfarma finally recalls –: the expected savings are 411 million. Sara Todaro – Il Sole 24 Ore of 08/01/2008 REGULATIONS AND TAXES p. 26  

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