GBI Research, the leading business intelligence provider, has released its latest research "Drug Price Cuts in Top Five Countries of Europe - Tougher Reference Pricing Environment and Drug Price Freeze through 2013 Expected to Drive Down Healthcare Costs". It provides a comprehensive overview of the healthcare systems as well as pricing in five European nations with a detailed analysis of the different regulatory mechanisms used in these countries. The report closely scrutinizes major changes in pricing for pharmaceuticals in these European nations in the recent past and their impact in the near future. The countries analyzed in the report are the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
GBI Research's analysis describes healthcare across the Five European nations, which is largely publicly financed and is provided by health insurance systems; hence, the European governments play a key role in providing healthcare for their citizens. Health is of high priority for Europe's citizens and pharmaceutical costs are the third most important component in the member states' healthcare budgets. Currently, the governments of the member countries face substantially rising costs for the provision of health care (average costs are rising at a faster rate than GDP) due to over-prescription of drugs, their irrational usage, and other key factors such as Europe's ageing population and increasing cost of new medical technologies. Consumer preference for branded drugs to generic drugs in cases where the patent for the drug has expired is also one of the reasons for increasing healthcare costs. Austerity packages announced by the countries are incorporating demand side and supply side policies to reduce the fiscal burden of which healthcare costs command a major proportion. The governmental demand side policies include measures that affect the reimbursements of drugs such as positive and negative lists, cost sharing, reference pricing, risk-sharing contracts, tenders, pay-back arrangements and other provisions aimed at a more rational use of pharmaceutical products and making demand more price sensitive. The most applied supply policy is price regulation which includes price control and price negotiation. The specific features of individual policies vary significantly across the member states. Single pricing mechanism is still an issue in the Europe.