Medicines shouldn’t be a luxury: it’s time to stop big pharma’s profiteering
The world is facing an access to medicines crisis, and Europe is no exception. Over-priced lifesaving medicines are being rationed in high-income countries due to the increased financial stress on healthcare systems. Whether it’s new drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C, cancer or cystic fibrosis, people across Europe are struggling to access the medicines they need because of increasingly high prices.
Why are drugs so expensive?
The astronomical price of many essential medicines stems primarily from patent monopolies held by pharmaceutical corporations and a lack of price-lowering competition. High drug prices have long restricted access to affordable and lifesaving treatment needed by millions of people in developing countries.
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🇪🇺 Europe is no exception
Since its market approval in 2014, sofosbuvir, a new drug to treat hepatitis C, continues to be rationed by several European governments due to its high price of €20,000 per treatment course.
An affordable price IS possible
MSF procures the same drug at €75 per treatment course from generics manufacturers. The extreme range in prices charged for this essential medicine in different countries reflects the arbitrary nature of price setting by pharmaceutical corporations, with no rationale other than profit-maximisation made possible by abuse of the patent system.
EU leaders, we have a problem
European citizens will elect a new parliament in May, and a new European Commission will be set up. Now is the right moment for governments in Europe to demonstrate political will and task the next European Commission to find more adapted ways to support biomedical Research & Development that ensures access to affordable medicines that people need.