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International comparison of generic medicine prices Posted 29/07/2009

The introduction of generic price-regulated systems in many European countries, the trend towards international generic medicine companies, and competition from Indian companies emphasises the need to gain insight into international prices of generic medicines.

A study by Professor Steven Simoens of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium aims to carry out an international comparison of ex-manufacturer prices of generic medicines in ambulatory care in nine European countries and in India in 2005.

Data on ex-manufacturer prices of generic medicines of 15 molecules/strengths were derived from IMS Health. Belgian prices were compared with prices observed in Denmark, France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The analysis was limited to medicines in immediate-release, oral, solid dosage forms.

It turned out that India and the Scandinavian countries had the lowest ex-manufacturer prices of generic medicines of selected molecule/strengths. These molecule/strengths were, on average, 63% cheaper in India than in Belgium. The highest price levels were observed in France, The Netherlands and Germany. Ex-manufacturer prices of a specific generic molecule/strength varied between countries by a factor of 3 to 36, depending on the molecule/strength. The generic medicine price level was higher in countries that adopt a free market approach and in countries that have a mature generic medicine market.

Ex-manufacturer prices of selected molecule/strengths varied substantially between countries. India has emerged as a low-cost producer of generic medicines. The international price comparison reveals that there may be scope for reducing generic medicine prices in a number of countries.

Source: Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(11):2647-54.

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