We reported recently how the UK healthcare watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had made a U-turn on Lucentis, the diabetes-related drug.
After initially saying they could not recommend it because it was too expensive, they have now deemed it should be made available. But only after Swiss drug-maker Novartis offered it at a discount!
It seems that the drug price drops are not just unique to Britain. China loves a bargain too as it has announced it will cut the price of more than 400 varieties of drugs by an average of 15 per cent.
These will include products from Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Merck & Co (MRK) – as well as Lucentis manufacturers, Novartis AG (NOVN.)
The changes, will be effective from February 1 and will cover drugs used for respiratory diseases and pain relief, as well as other specialized medicines, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on its website.
Among the products affected are Merck’s asthma treatment Singulair, Pfizer’s Zyvox, an antibiotic, as well as Novartis’s epilepsy drug Trileptal, according to a list of prices released by the government. Prices of higher-end drugs will be reduced an average 20 per cent.
This is the fourth set of state-mandated price adjustments since 2011, with earlier cuts for drugs including antibiotics, vaccines and cancer medicines, the NDRC said.
The reason? The government wants to reduce medical costs for China’s aging population.
Surely prevention is the answer which would undoubtedly save China far more in the long run?
Not only that, but China’s government would do better looking into natural remedies and alternative therapies to treat these illnesses and diseases, rather than be caught up in a fire sale with the pharmaceutical industries, who are obviously hellbent on peddling their wares (with their worrying side-effects) at any cost.
It just goes to show what massive profits the drugs’ companies are making in the first place.