Pharmaceutical expenditures have an important role in Europe. The attempts to control expenditure have used a wide range of policy measures. We reviewed the main measures adopted by the European Union countries, especially in countries where governments are the largest third-party payers. To complement a literature review on the topic, data was gathered from national reviews of health systems and direct inquiries to several government bodies. Almost all countries regulate prices of pharmaceutical products. Popular policy measures include international referencing to set prices (using as benchmark countries that have set lower prices), internal reference pricing systems to promote price competition in domestic markets, and positive lists for reimbursement to promote consumption of generics (including in some cases substitution by pharmacists of drugs prescribed by physicians). Despite the wide range of policy measures, it is not possible to identify a "silver bullet" to control pharmaceutical expenditures. We also identified two main policy challenges: policy coordination among countries within the European Union to maintain incentives for R&D at the global level, and the development of new relationships with the pharmaceutical industry; namely, the so-called risk-sharing agreements between the pharmaceutical industry and governments/regulators (or large third-party payers).
|Title of host publication||Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research|
|Place of Publication||UK|
|Publisher||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2010|