“RO-ALERT”: The pharmaceutical market and its paradoxes – opinion

by Coralia Kreyer – Executive Director - Romanian Association of Euro-Pharmaceuticals Wholesalers (ADEM)

28 September 2017 - in Ziarul Financiar – Medical e Farma

While the state of alert has become a “modus vivendi” for Romanians, on all levels, our politicians seem preoccupied by the people’s safety by implementing a technical system of alert in emergency situations, through the mobile phone networks, called RO‐ALERT. They also seem preoccupied by the healthcare situation and the lack of medicines, by trying to stop the parallel export. How “sweet poisons” are these solutions… Who is going to alert all those people that don’t have access to mobile phone networks or mass‐media in real time, and especially those who don’t have access to education or healthcare? The budget allocated for RO‐ALERT of 4 million euros, while the PIB share allocated for health remains 4.8%, compared to a minimum of 6% what would be the minimum for a relative relaxation of this field. Of course, the 4 million euros would not save the health budget, but most certainly it would save some lives, as there are already several alerts in this direction.

The equation recurrently debated this year by all players from the pharmaceutical market, authorities and politicians has remained unsolved: low prices + clawback = withdrawals of medicines (medicines left on the market: 4,230 in 2017, from 6,114 in 2015) + parallel export. The solutions have been more divergent than convergent, an aspect aggravated by the measures adopted by authorities this year, which have generated more distortions within the market. As the prices cannot be increased, the low prices being on the Government’s public image agenda, and the clawback cannot be decreased nor applied differentially for innovative/generics, the only solution, according to a primary and immediate logic, remains the stopping of the intra‐EU deliveries.

From over 2,000 medicines withdrawn by manufacturers from commercial reasons, most are generic products with low prices. Generally, the generic products are not much subject for parallel export, as the Western or Scandinavian markets that are usually in demand for exports have a big penetration of generics. Moreover, the interest of the economically prosper states, that are importers of medicines from Eastern Europe, is to make savings in their budgets by favouring the versions of innovative medicines that are imported. This happens because the parallel import of medicines remains the only instrument of controlling the prices of innovative medicines, beside the control exercised by the national governments, thus generating savings in the national budgets. There are studies proving that the competition level created by the medicines imported are generating prices by 19‐22% lower for the innovative medicines

Read the article in Ziarul Financiar – Medical e Farma