KEFEA: New medicine being victimised

June 30, 2015

Pharmaceutical companies say they are trapped because they cannot delete products from the price list

There will be problems in the unimpeded distribution of medicines in the Cyprus market, particularly the availability of new, innovative treatments following the additional 8.5% cut in the price of pharmaceuticals, the Cyprus Association of Research and Development Pharmaceutical Companies (KEFEA) announces.

“As an industry involved in the research and development of pharmaceuticals, we are not opposed to efforts to reduce prices in the private sector,” said KEFEA president Kyriakos Mikellis, but he notes that companies were very disappointed with the manner in which the specific decision was taken, despite the proposals KEFEA had submitted to the Health Ministry.

“The total average reduction of 23% puts patients’ access to pharmaceuticals at risk. The danger of non-registration of new drugs exists, particularly if one takes into consideration the Ministry’s refusal to delete pharmaceutical products that are no longer marketed from the price list,” said Mikellis. “It is a very important issue because Cyprus does not have a procedure to remove a medicinal product from the pricelist, resulting in drugs that are no longer available in Cyprus to be referenced by other countries to calculate their price,” he said, noting that KEFEA has been expecting an official reply from the Health Ministry on the issue for the past eight months.

Moreover, KEFEA welcomes the Health Ministry’s announcement for additional funds of €3m for new innovative treatments. The association considers this an important development because Cyprus lags considerably in this area in comparison to other European countries. A long-standing position of KEFEA is that the only way to substantially improve patients’ access to new drugs is to change the anachronistic procedures implemented by the state, both during the stage of evaluation and inclusion on the formulary list as well as the buying process conducted through public tenders. We hope that the problems will be resolved with the implementation of an NHS that will ensure each patient receives the drug his doctor considers most appropriate for him.

KEFEA represents the research and development pharmaceutical companies in Cyprus and is a member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).