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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PUIG-JUNOY, Jaume. Policies encouraging price competition in the generic drug market: Lessons from the European experience. Gac Sanit [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.3, pp.193-199. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To describe alternative policies aimed at encouraging price competition in generic drug markets in countries with strict price regulation, and to present some case studies drawn from the European experience. Methods: Systematic literature review of articles and technical reports published after 1999. Results: The shortcomings in consumer price competition observed in some European generic markets, including Spain, may be reduced through three types of public reimbursement or financing reforms: policies aimed at improving the design of current maximum reimbursement level policies; policies aimed at monitoring competitive prices in order to reimburse real acquisition cost to pharmacies; and, more radical and market-oriented policies such as competitive tendering of public drug purchases. The experience of recent reforms adopted in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Norway, and Sweden offers a useful guide for highly price-regulated European countries, such as Spain, currently characterized by limited consumer price competition and the high discounts offered to pharmacy purchases. Conclusions: Direct price regulation and/or the generic reference pricing systems used to reduce generic drug prices in many European countries can be successfully reformed by adopting measures more closely aimed at encouraging consumer price competition in generic drug markets.

Keywords : Generic drugs; Price competition; Pharmaceutical expenditure; Price regulation; Reference pricing.

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