In order to ensure greater price transparency in the medicine market, Malta and nine other European Union countries have come together to form a ‘Valletta Group’.
The countries have come together to form a framework which will enable them in sharing information regarding the price of medicines voluntarily.
Currently, pharmaceutical companies do not reveal the price of medicine they sell to different countries which leads to high costs in some countries.
Malta Health Minister Chris Fearne delivered a keynote address at the opening session of the European Health Forum. He said that Croatia is likely to put this matter on the agenda of European Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council [EPSCO] next year.
Fearne stated that the ‘Valletta Group’ will begin working by confidentially sharing the information about prices of medical products and medicines which will help them in better negotiations with the companies.
Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia and Malta are a part of the ‘Valletta Group’.
“One country is paying €15,000 and another country can’t pay €100,000. Why can’t we all buy it at 15 000? The company is still making money,” Fearne was quoted as saying by Malta Independent.
“The pharmaceutical companies, when they enter into agreements for procuring medicine, specifically state that you are not at liberty to publicize the price. They usually release the medicines first in countries where there is a high GDP, and so when they [publicly] reference the price, they are referencing the high end of the European market,” he added.
He asserted that information sharing will help the countries in negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies and procuring the medicines at better prices.
“Breaking this secrecy will allow member states to build trust and then will be able to negotiate jointly,” he said.