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Click on the pharmaceutical shopping shelf 2006

Starting today, the measure relating to the level of pharmaceutical expenditure for the year 2006, published in the Official Gazette last week, takes effect. It is a new mechanism which, as Health Minister Livia Turco recalled at the last Farmindustria assembly, must be able to capture variables such as the aging of the population, the transfer of pharmaceutical care from hospitals to the local area, and the cost of new innovative drugs.
The provision, implemented by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), includes two measures in favor of exceeding the spending ceiling:
1) A further temporary reduction in the price to the public of drugs, in any case dispensed or used by the National Health Service (NHS) from the current 4.4% to 5%, confirming the exclusions already provided for in the previous provision of 30 December 2005. This reduction, Aifa explains, makes it possible to cover in 2006, completely and definitively, the breach of the pharmaceutical expenditure ceiling planned in 2005, for the 60% to be paid by private subjects.
2) A maneuver to revise the National Pharmaceutical Handbook, which provides for a selective and temporary reduction in the price of medicines up to a maximum of 12%. This manoeuvre, adds Aifa, refers to medicines which in the first quarter of 2006 recorded an increase in sales, without a justified epidemiological reason.
In more detail, the revision of the handbook regards 502 packs out of 4799 (equal to 10.5%) and refers to 98 companies out of the 374 operating on the national territory (26.4%).
The manoeuvre, specifies the Medicines Agency, became necessary since spending in the first 4 months of 2006 recorded an increase of 9.9% compared to the same months of 2005. An increase, adds Aifa, so worrying as to require immediate action, "to avoid a breach of the 2006 pharmaceutical expenditure ceiling at the end of the year, which is difficult to cover in the final balance".
The price cut, the Agency also specifies, is temporary and selective and will not have any consequences on the levels of pharmaceutical assistance and on citizens' possibilities of access to medicines. Furthermore, medicines for children, anti-cancer drugs, generic-equivalent drugs included in the transparency lists, extractive blood products and recombinant DNA products, innovative drugs marketed in 2005 and packs of essential medicines, but with a price below 5 euros, are excluded from the maneuver.
Overall, the recovery maneuver is estimated at 388 million euros, to which must be added the effect of generic-equivalent medicines (estimated at 60 million euros) and the effect of moderating consumption generated by the maneuver
From DoctorNews 07-14-06

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