Friday, October 21, 2005

pharma pricing

interesting bmj article on pharmaceutical pricing, via the healthcare renewal blog:

The United States government is engaged in a campaign to characterise other industrialised countries as free riding on high US pharmaceutical prices and innovation in new drugs. This campaign is based on the argument that lower prices imposed by price controls in other affluent countries do not pay for research and development costs, so that Americans have to pay the research costs through higher prices in order to keep supplying the world with new drugs.
We can find no convincing evidence to support the view that the lower prices in affluent countries outside the United States do not pay for research and development costs. The latest report from the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme documents that drug companies in the United Kingdom invest proportionately more of their revenues from domestic sales in research and development than do companies in the US. Prices in the UK are much lower than those in the US yet profits remain robust.
[...] Canada the 35 companies that are members of the brand name industry association report that income from domestic sales is, on average, about 10 times greater than research and development costs. They have profits higher than makers of computer equipment and telecommunications carriers despite prices being about 40% lower than in the US.
Contrary to claims of American dominance, pharmaceutical research and development in the US has not produced more than its proportionate share of new molecular entities. The US accounts for just under 48% of world sales and spent 49% of the global total on research and development to discover 45% of the new molecular entities that were launched on the world market in 2003, less than its proportionate share. European countries account for 28% of world sales, 36% of total research and development spending, and 32% of new molecular entities, more than its proportionate share.

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