Think-tank seeking fairer deal for drug firms at ‘cutting edge’

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Series Details Vol 7, No.13, 29.3.01, p2
Publication Date 29/03/2001
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Date: 29/03/01

By Peter Chapman

A THINK-TANK of drugs industry chiefs and EU ministers will seek to ensure the sector gets a fairer share from national health systems for cutting-edge drugs, a top European Commission official said this week.

Fabio Colasanti, director-general for enterprise, said the high-level group - which kicked off this week - would look closely at the complex array of national systems which artificially keep down the prices patients pay for their medicines.

He said 'reimbursement' schemes that compensate firms for state-of-the-art medicines used in national health services may not be giving them a big enough return on their investment. The mish-mash of national systems, he claimed, could be harming investment in new products and hampering the EU's industry in the global market.

"There is a double goal: provision of medicine for all the population but getting a mechanism that encourages innovation," said Colasanti, adding that these goals might be "partially contradictory".

But he added that European-level action would depend on the will of member states because the health sector was "largely away from the direct responsibility of the EU".

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