Ha ha. Drug Makers Required to Show Benefit

Kristen Sparrow • February 24, 2012

The highlighted sentence in the second paragraph of this article could have been taken from the Onion.
(This article reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon that showed a doctor talking to a patient at his desk saying. “I’m going to give you a new medication that works almost as well as aspirin but costs a whole lot more.”)

Austerity in Europe Puts Pressure on Drug Prices

PARIS —Profits at pharmaceutical companies have been declining or showing little growth for the last year as austerity measures across Europe lead to cuts in health care spending. Some analysts say this trend could continue until at least 2014.

Budget cuts mean that many European governments are not willing to pay as much for pills. But new laws in some countries are also putting pressure on companies to prove their drugs are effective or risk having them dropped from the coverage list, or covered at a lower rate...

(There are then many paragraphs boo hooing about how hard this will be on the poor Big Pharma companies.)

“2011 is the first year recorded where R.& D. is down in the industry as a whole,” Mr. Bergström said…

Adding to the challenge for companies is the need to show newly cost-conscious governments that their drugs are cost effective.

Germany, Europe’s largest pharmaceutical market, has required drug companies since January 2011 to prove the added benefit of a new medication by producing documentation comparing it with other treatments on the market...
Partly as a result of these changes, the German government reported saving 1.9 billion euros on drugs in 2011, three times the savings in 2010, Business Monitor International said.

Drug companies worry that actions in Germany could hurt sales in other European markets.

My snark is borne of the great lengths that acupuncture research studies have had to go to to show benefit. An incredibly high bar that few other aspects of medicine have had to reach. Info on my practice here.