The US will intervene in drug prices for the first time through the public Medicare service

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The United States Department of Health – equivalent to the Ministry of Health, and known in English as the HHS – through its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a measure by which it could limit the price Medicare pays for some of the most expensive drugs it funds, thus introducing the intervention on drug prices in the largest world market of free competition, especially for this sector. In fact, the United States promotes competition as a fundamental pillar of its economic system.

In principle, a common measure in most of the European marketsamong them the españolin which the prices of medicines financed by public systems are subject to some type of intervention.

The global impact that this decision may have on the pharmaceutical industry is not easy to pinpoint exactly yet, but, if successful, it will be a hard blow to its bottom line, not only in terms of the industry’s reputation. pharmaceutical – because in some way it is implied that the cost of these medications is excessive – but also because of their impact on the billing of the affected companies -and those that would be in the future-, and therefore, also in its investment in R&D.

It must be remembered that Pharmaceutical companies recurrently invest an average of close to 15% of their sales in this concept. (12.4% in 2020), making them the industry that globally more goes to researchdoubling the services sector, which occupies second place with an investment of 8.7% of its sales in 2020, according to the latest European Industrial R&D Scoreboard of the European Commission, from 2021.

The United States is, by far, the main market for the sector – it represents 64.4% of global turnover of this industry, according to the consulting firm IQVIA – and, consequently, the one that takes the cake in investment in research, which currently practically doubles European investment in this concept, and which, furthermore, has been growing at a very fast pace. higher than EU investment in recent years. So, Pharmaceutical R&D grew 7.7% in the United States between 2012 and 2016 – compared to 3.1% growth in the EU in this period – and 8.5% between 2017 and 2021, compared to the European increase of 4% in those years, also according to IQVIA.

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