EU attempts to tackle parallel pricing of drugs

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 13 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1769
  1. Rory Watson
  1. Brussels

    The European Union is conducting a major investigation into the different prices charged for the same medicines in its 15 member states. Pressure for the exercise has come from EU governments after complaints from the pharmaceutical industry that a parallel trade has grown that undercuts the price of many domestic products.

    Drug prices are set by governments. The rate is determined by what a national health service can afford and by the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in a particular country. If the price for a particular drug is considerably lower in one member state, however, an enterprising trader will buy it there and export …

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