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Drug price cuts to 7 billion euros in the EU

Pharmaceutical companies have cut the prices of their products in Euro area countries by a total of about 7 billion euros since the beginning of the crisis. But the resulting parallel trade has led to severe medicine shortages in states such as Greece.

This is the complaint that comes from an annual conference on the sector organized by the Economist in London in recent days. Drug prices in Greece are currently 20% below the lowest levels recorded in Europe and the government estimates that more than 25% of medicines arriving in the country are subsequently re-exported.

As a result, around 300 products are found to be in shortage and the government has published a list of 50 pharmaceutical companies that have stopped or plan to stop supplying Greece. The export ban announced in January now includes around 60 medicines and officials are considering adding another 300. In addition, a new wave of drug price cuts is expected to take effect in Greece shortly.

Some countries have used these discounts as a 'target price' to reduce their spending, said Briggs Morrison, AstraZeneca's executive vice president of Global Medicines Development, who said these kinds of short-sighted budget decisions term are not in the best interests of patients and healthcare systems.

The countries subject to austerity measures, in particular in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Ireland - Morrison recalled - have reduced their spending on health care and in particular on medicines, but it would have been preferable, on the contrary, increase investments. Innovative medicines, in fact, change people's lives, keep them healthy and it is precisely in this way that savings can be made

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