Per PharmaGossip, Arab Government Payers Seek, And Win, Huge Drug Price Cuts

With a sincere hat tip to PharmaGossip, and its author, The Insider, from across the pond, we note the rapidly emergent trend of government payers receiving large discounts off of previously contracted-for brand name drugs. Up to 40 percent, in fact — on cholesterol management drugs, like Vytorin and Zetia, and drugs to treat depression and schizophrenia (like Saphris/Sycrest), plus a range of antibiotics, steroids, antifungals and analgesics.

Recall that in the United Arab Emirates, all citizens receive essentially free health care, paid for by the government, including prescription medications. That this state pater is seeking, and receiving, 40 percent discounts off of previously agreed pricing is clearly a trend. One that bodes ill for traditional pharma margins on non-US sales — previously a source of strength. In any event, here is a bit of the PharmaTimes reporting on it — do go read it all:

. . . .In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the prices of 67 drugs manufactured by Pfizer and Merck Sharp & Dohme will be cut by between 5% and 40% in July, and around other 20 multinational drugmakers are also expected to reduce their prices, say officials.

The reductions follow lengthy negotiations with drugmakers after a price comparison study conducted by a committee of the Ministry of Health found that drug prices in the UAE are the highest out of six neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab states — Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Reporting the findings in February, Ministry official Dr Amin al Amiri had said the study had found, for example, “a drug costing 180 dirhams in the UAE. . . costs 105 dirhams in Saudi Arabia. This is not fair. . . .”

Do stay tuned.

[As a housekeeping matter, starting this week, absent some truly colosal development (like an outcome in the J&J arbitration), I will likely only add new material after 8 pm Eastern on weekdays, and in the mornings on weekends. We will see how this schedule shakes out. Be excellent to one another.]


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