European court confirms governments have autonomy over drug prices

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 14 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1528
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

    The European Court of Justice has reaffirmed that European Union member states have broad authority to reduce drug prices to protect the financial stability of public healthcare insurance schemes.

    The court’s ruling, issued 2 April, concerns price cuts ordered in 2005-6 by the Italian Medicines Agency, the body responsible for monitoring the costs of drug and medicinal products borne by the Italian National Health Service. The service acts as a public health insurer, ensuring that all Italians receive medical care and drugs. The drug price cuts, including a 5% across the board reduction just months after previous selective cuts were made because drug costs were exceeding budget limits.

    Drug companies, including Italian subsidiaries of global …

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