According to a new study from the World Health Organization (WHO), European countries need to consider working together more to afford new, more expensive pharmaceuticals entering the market.
New therapies for chronic conditions like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and hepatitis C have come onto the scene—with hefty pricetags. “While these therapies are straining budgets across the continent, low- and middle-income countries are getting hit hardest, and the way WHO sees it, that’s where joining forces can make a difference,” according to a FiercePharma article.
If countries share their experiences and expand their cooperation, they may be able to increase transparency and clarify medicine pricing policy, according to WHO. That in turn will help countries with less-developed regulation mechanisms and weaker health systems, the organization suggests.
Transparency needs to be seriously improved. While countries like the U.K. and Germany have agencies to force drug companies to craft deals with discount prices, the amount they do pay is often kept quiet.
How pharmaceutical firms make their drug-pricing decisions also is murky, and WHO is asking the industry to be more forthright, too. As David Haslam, chair of England’s health technology assessor NICE, put it last year, at the moment, “no one outside of a pharma firm’s boardroom” knows how sticker decisions are set.