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Price and access to innovative medical treatments
Type of text : Opinion and report
Type of referral : Own initiative
Working group : Section for Social Affairs and Health
Catherine PAJARES Y SANCHEZ
Date adopted : 25/01/2017 | Period : 2015-2020
The very high prices demanded by industrials for certain innovative treatments are questioned by the medical community and public opinion. The most well known case in France is that of Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir), to treat chronic hepatitis C, sold at a price of 41,000 euros for a standard curative treatment of three months. But the increase in prices actually concerns many other medicines, particularly those used in the treatment of cancer.
From the petition launched by cancerologists Dominique Maraninchi and Jean-Paul Vernant in March 2016 in the communication campaign of Médecins du Monde, this evolution gave rise to a number of reactions from civic society, health professionals, patients’ associations and unions. It led to strong opposition against the strategies employed by certain pharmaceutical laboratories but also calls for greater transparency in the setting of prices. Beyond this, there is fear that our country begins to select those who should benefit from the innovative treatments.
In France, within the framework of the National Health Insurance Spending Objective (ONDAM), spending on medicines is under control, thanks to mechanisms that regulate prices, to decreases in the price of older treatments and to efforts borne by the insured parties. The arrangements set up under the social security financing legislation have also contributed to containing the risk of inflation through successive reforms of
the contributions on companies’ sales figures.
Yet a rapid increase in the price of innovative treatments suggests that there will be an increase in health spending. The extra cost linked to the cost of new anticancer treatments can be estimated at 1 to 1.2 billion euros a year. This budgetary constraint should not lead to denying patients the benefit of an innovative treatment. Although a response has been provided to this risk with regard to viral hepatitis, with the creation of universal access to treatments against hepatitis C, the threat of a selection linked to the high price of innovative medicines is no less real for other treatments.
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