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Inequality in Europe over access to biologicals for arthritis

Data from a study presented at the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, EULAR Congress 2012, demonstrates the vast inequalities in access to biologicals for the treatments of rheumatoid arthritis across 46 European countries [1, 2].

Prescribing in Scotland increases but drug costs drop

Spending on medicine in Scotland was 11% less in 2011–2012 compared to spending in 2004–2005. This is despite the volume of prescriptions increasing by 33% during that time, according to a new report by Audit Scotland.

Pay-for-delay on the increase in the US

During 2012 the number of potentially anticompetitive patent dispute settlements between brand-name and generics companies in the US increased significantly compared with 2011 according to a new report released on 17 January 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Patients persuade doctors to prescribe brand-name rather than generic drugs

Doctors are persuaded by patients to prescribe brand-name drugs when generic drugs are available. That is according to results of a survey carried out by researchers from the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and published in JAMA Internal Medicine [1].

EU health spending in 2010 decreases for first time since 1975

Health spending fell across the EU in 2010, governments affected by continuing austerity measures tried to save money by reducing spending on health, according to Health at a Glance: Europe 2012, a new joint report by the OECD and the European Commission.

Generic drug prices decrease, brand-name prices increase

Over the last year brand-name drugmakers have raised prices by 13.3%, more than six times the consumer inflation rate. Generic drug prices, on the contrary; actually decreased by 21.9% during the same period.

Biosimilar policies in the UK

The UK was placed in 10th position in the global pharmaceutical markets in 2011 [1]. The UK also had some of the lowest prices for medicines in Europe [2]. Cost pressures and a well-developed generics market mean that the UK is likely to be a fast-adopter of biosimilars. However, relatively low usage of biologicals reduces the UK’s attractiveness as a biosimilars market [3].

Biosimilar policies in Spain

Spain is Europe’s fifth largest pharmaceutical market [1], however, in 2009, biosimilars accounted for less than 5% of the total biologicals market [2].

Future biosimilar targets

It seems biological medicines are set to play a major part in the pharmaceutical industry’s future and they already play a major part in its current growth [1]. At the moment, biologicals account for 10–15% of the pharmaceutical market. More than one-fifth of new medicines launched on the world market each year are now biotechnology-derived.

Generic medicine switches confuse patients and reduce adherence

Switching between generic medicines without explaining the reason to the patient can undermine trust in pharmacists, the Aston Medication Adherence Study (AMAS) has found [1].