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Casper Ernst: Parallel imports are part of the decision on access to medicines

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 | 17:30:40 Nadezhda Nenova

The challenges to the drug market are two. One is for the patient to be able to afford it, and the other is the shortage. These are problems that exist everywhere in Europe, not just in Bulgaria, and parallel imports are part of the solution to these problems. This was stated by the Secretary General of the European Association of Euro-pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC) Casper Ernst in a presentation during the Round Table "Promoting Parallel Imports" held today.

In his words, parallel trade leads to savings from the common market of medicines, which costs are constantly growing. "From 2010 to 2017, spending on medicines in Europe has increased by 40%. In 2010, they were € 154 billion, while in 2017 they were already € 207 billion. The division of trade from south to north, east to west, low to high income countries has disappeared. Some medications in Norway and France are cheaper than in Bulgaria, others are cheaper in Bulgaria, Ernst said.

He stressed, however, that parallel trade leads to savings. "Indirect savings come from competition between different brands - we take a product at a lower price, with the same quality, but from other manufacturers and the price falls. Meanwhile, between 5% and 37% is the price difference between parallel imports and leads to direct savings" said Casper Ernst. He gave a theoretical example of a drug whose price in Italy was 100 euros and in Norway 70 euros. The trader receives an import permit, transports the drug from Norway to Italy, repackages it and sells it. In this case, his costs will be about 15 euros, so will his profit.

According to EAEPC Secretary General Casper Ernst, the deadline for obtaining a parallel import license should be shortened when it comes to medicines that have already been approved by the European Medicines Agency. "We do not want more benefits, sometimes they make us import drugs that are not less expensive, but they are not available in any country," he added.

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