BIO Deutschland Calls for the Supply of Innovative Medicines to be Made Easier
The sector association of the biotechnology industry, BIO Deutschland, has called on politicians to remove obstacles to supplying innovative medicines to patients. There will be an opportunity to do so in the amendments to the Health Care Structure Act, which were discussed during a public hearing of the Bundestag’s Health Committee in October.
According to BIO Deutschland, politicians should make use of the forthcoming amendment to the Health Care Structures Act and abolish the current linking between doctors’ fees and expenditure on medicines in section 84 of the fifth book of the Social Code. This regulation encourages reluctance to prescribe innovative medicines despite evidence of their effectiveness, particularly in cases of expensive drugs such as those for rare diseases (orphan drugs) or medicines that are produced using biotechnology. This leads to doctors currently being penalised for providing superior quality patient care and prescribing innovations – without actual savings being made in the medicines prescription budget.
In comparison with other countries, Germany is quick to introduce new medical products, but market penetration takes a long time. Patients are therefore not as well supplied with new medicines as they are in other countries. “A Health Care Structures Act only deserves this name if it removes care deficiencies in the interests of patients in all health care sectors,” said Robert Lupp, chairperson of BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Health Policy. He added: “Disincentives, as in section 84 of the Social Code V, must be abolished so that patients actually have access to innovations.”
In accordance with section 84, clause 1 of the Social Code V, the regional statutory health insurance companies and the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians agree on an annual expenditure volume for medicines. The aim of the medicines budget is to exploit profitability reserves by limiting expenditure on medicines.
Please see page 9 (point 4.1) in BIO Deutschland’s position paper (available in German only) of 25 July 2011: Statement on the Ministry Draft of a Law on Improving Care Structures in Statutory Health Insurance. The paper can be downloaded at http://www.biodeutschland.org/positionspapiere.html