Malta proposal for price-transparency irks pharmaceutical companies

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Malta-led proposal to bring transparency in the price fixed by pharmaceutical companies while dealing with individual countries has attracted opposition.

The Pharma companies have objected to the proposal which restricts the health authorities in a country from revealing the price of drugs they buy.

This strengthens the pharma companies and gives them an upper hand while negotiation the price of medicines. The initiative, known as Valletta Declaration, has so far been signed by 10 European Union countries.

Malta Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the companies were against the declaration because it puts them in a weaker position.

Talking about the advantages of price secrecy for the companies, a spokesperson of the health ministry said “This puts health authorities at a disadvantage when negotiating. Pharma companies invariably tell all the different countries that their (secret) price is ‘the best’. This is manifestly impossible.”

“Additionally, at the moment, while the big pharma companies have amalgamated, procurement authorities remain fragmented. Price transparency is the first step that will allow member states to start negotiating and procuring medicines jointly,” they added, according to Times of Malta.

Responding to the steps taken by Malta, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), said that the declaration might lead to a reduction in access to the medicines.

Meanwhile, Malta maintained that price-transparency will help countries in the EU to share actual prices of the medicines with each other and negotiate accordingly with the companies. The model will next be discussed in September during the Valletta Declaration meeting in Rome.