[Ip-health] Politico Europe: Health minister: Italy has 'moral obligation' to tackle drug pricing

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Feb 21 22:20:13 PST 2019

*Health minister: Italy has 'moral obligation' to tackle drug pricing*

-- By Katie Jennings
2/21/19, 5:11 PM CET

Italy’s Health Minister Giulia Grillo told POLITICO that she considers it
a “moral obligation” to tackle pricing in the pharmaceutical industry, as
the country makes a global move for pricing transparency.

The country drafted a resolution
on global leaders to give the World Health Organization an “authoritative
mandate” to work on transparency of both R&D costs and drug pricing, when
they meet for the World Health Assembly in May.

“The political Movement I belong to had already been urging the issue of
the transparency of drug prices during the previous legislature. Now that
we sit at the government, we have the moral obligation to tackle this
issue, conscious that a solution can be achieved only through a global
approach,” said Grillo, a member of the populist 5Star Movement, in an
emailed statement.

Dated February 1, the draft resolution and a letter from Grillo to WHO
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, were published by POLITICO

When asked what she hopes to achieve through the resolution, Grillo said:
“The disclosure of the costs that the industry sustains for R&D and
production of drugs in different countries, as well as the publication of
information on clinical trials, can possibly lead to clear and transparent
rules of engagement in the negotiation process.”

“In Italy — as well as in other countries — recent negotiations of new
breakthrough therapies have been proving that policy makers are effectively
working in the dark so that the effect of their decisions cannot be
adequately monitored and assessed,” Grillo said.

As governments in Europe review pharmaceutical incentives and consider how
to “delink the incentives from high prices or temporary monopolies,”
transparency is the way to provide good evidence to make the best
decisions, she said.

Grillo said Italy has “received enormous informal support in the first few
days, much more than expected” from other countries regarding the
resolution, but it was too early to say which other countries might sign on
as co-sponsors.

*Sarah Wheaton contributed reporting. *

To view online:

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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