Germany’s approach to negotiating drug prices demonstrates that a balanced result can be achieved when patients don’t lose drug access or choice options and drug prices are rational.
James C. Robinson, Dimitra Panteli and Patricia Ex argue the U.S. could learn a thing or two from Germany when it comes to pharmaceutical pricing, choice and access. Their article was recently published in Stat News.
TrialSite News recommends those interested in new drug pricing models follow the link to the source and thoroughly read this article. For those that have come to the realization that the U.S. system is not sustainable, consider being open minded and explore different approaches.
For starters, the health and pharmaceutical procurement model in Germany builds on 110 health plans, referred to as sickness funds, that cover the health expenses for 90% of the local population. Additionally, 48 indemnity insurers cover the remainder of the expenses, according to Stat News.
These funds pool their collective resources and bargaining power to negotiate prices with drug makers. The negotiations commence after a particular drug has been approved for market authorization by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The analyses, based on a clinical benefit versus existing treatments test, are conducted and commissioned by the Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss (G-BA). The G-BA is a quasi-public entity governed by the national associations of physicians, dentists, hospitals, sickness funds and patient advocates. All of the health plans pay the same price.
A fundamental legal underpinning anchoring the German healthcare system is that there will be no incremental price increase without a corresponding incremental benefit. The G-BA’s assessments are based on patient-relevant clinical endpoints such as overall survival, functional ability and reduction in symptoms, rather than intermediate endpoints such as reduced tumor size or change in biomarker levels.
The German system of drug assessment and negotiation has achieved net prices lower than the United States. The German system is cited by President Donald Trump and his administration and legislatures from both sides of the House.