In the newspaper of the 26 of March, I read that drugs are going to become cheaper. The government is trying to make 2,500 drugs of all kinds cheaper (chronical treatments such as diabetes but also antibiotics and the contraceptive pill), as the minister of Public Health Laurette Onkelinx (PS).says. For some drugs the price reduction can be 50, 60 or even 70%, but she indicates that it is the only way to make drugs available for everybody. Last year, a reduction of the 1.95% was required to fit the budget agreement. Later on an even harder reduction was necessary by the obligated comparison within six European countries. as expected, the pharmaceutical sector was not really pleased with this fact, and the negotiations did not go easily. This is a strong sector, and it provides about 31,000 people with work. For this reason, a consensus had to be found: the prices are going to be reduced and the companies get support in their research. Since the first of April, the new prices are legit, and a saving of ten million Euros should be accomplished.
I think this is a lice initiative, but the problem is only shoved around instead of taken care of. The pharmaceutical sector is trying to innovate and make better drugs, improve existing drugs and invent new ones. As there are still a lot of diseases that cannot be cured, or resistant variants of the disease are developed, the pharmaceutical sector will always need to be able to respond to this. A second remark, is the fact that, once a drug is developed, it is only patented for a certain period. After this period other companies can make the drug as well, and use it as a base for new drug development, or homeopathic variants of the drugs can be made. These all have a great impact on the pharmaceutical sector. As I already said in a previous post, the employees of Janssen are afraid of losing their job, since the division of Springhouse had closed its R&D site. This is another slap in the face for these employees. If they lose their job, the lower prices of drugs will not concern them that much, and an even harder decrease will be necessary as the unemployment will increase.