Recent National and Regional Drug Reforms in Sweden: Implications for Pharmaceutical Companies in Europe
Lars L. Gustafsson
With an aging population and increased prevalence of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes mellitus, drug reforms are needed across Europe to ensure the continued provision of comprehensive healthcare. It is also a challenge, with the limited resources available, to fund new innovative drugs that significantly improve patient health. Recent national and regional reforms in Sweden have moderated the rate of increase in drug expenditure, despite increased volumes of drug use and the launch of new, expensive drugs. National reforms include the adoption of economic principles when assessing the value and subsequent reimbursement of new and existing drugs, as well as reforms to obtain low prices for generic drugs. Regional reforms aim to encourage the rational use of medicines through the establishment of drug and therapeutic committees, development of guidelines, academic detailing, continuous benchmarking of prescribing patterns, and financial incentives. Some of these reforms provide examples to other European countries, whilst others duplicate existing measures. As such, we believe other European countries can benefit from an analysis of the Swedish reforms. We believe the pharmaceutical industry can also benefit from this analysis by working with key regional payers involved with developing and implementing the reforms as they moderate and refine their future activities, including finding acceptable ways of introducing new expensive drugs.
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