Madrid, January 15th 2015.– Faced with the problem that has arisen in the last few months with regards to the access to new treatments for Hepatitis C, as well as with the information and opinions expressed, sometimes contradictory, on these new medicines, Farmaindustria would like to thoroughly support the Government and offer their collaboration with the aim of making an accurate diagnosis of the number of patients who need to be treated. We would also like to elaborate a protocol of action so that healthcare professionals, based on clinical criteria, are able to define the most appropriate healthcare interventions with these new therapies.
Likewise, it publicly recognizes the efforts made by healthcare authorities to include these medicines against Hepatitis C through the public reimbursement system (three have already been approved and two more will soon be), making Spain one of the countries in Europe where these treatments have been approved earlier on in favorable economic conditions.
Contrary to contemplating them as a problem, these treatments should be regarded as a solution and welcomed as excellent news. These treatments can cure very complex diseases, reduce healthcare costs and attain savings in the medium and long terms, which are much higher than the initial costs they entail. They are, thus, highly cost-effective medicines which shouldn’t be regarded for by their price, but rather taking into account their contributions in social, healthcare and economic terms.
As a society, we find ourselves in the middle of an important crossroads: the need to undertake an unforeseen short term investment -which will end up generating savings and benefits- which will be of much higher value in the medium term. This situation will not happen solely for this disease, it is expected that several medicines providing extraordinary healthcare contributions will surface within the next years, carrying important benefits for patients and society in general.
Ultimately, the question is how to prioritize public budgets so that they become economically efficient, while at the same time responding to societal demands. In this case, it is fair to say that Spain has an important buffer to allow for new therapies to be financed. Especially taking into account that pharmaceutical expenditure is nowadays controlled (having been reduced by more than 3,400 million € in comparison to the record high in 2010) and also considering that, in the specific case of Hepatitis C, the cost of healthcare interventions associated to patients with a certain urgency of receiving these treatments represents barely a small fraction of a percentage in healthcare expenditure. These medicines are as cost-effective –if not more- than the vast majority of public investments which require a period of maturing and, besides, the State has a wide range of tools and a great flexibility to allow for the financing of these treatments.
For all these reasons, it is necessary to refocus the current public and political debate in this field and avoid extremist proposals which place Spain in a position whereby it becomes isolated from its economic and socio political reality, but rather have all concerned agents working together to accelerate the access of these treatments to the citizens who need them.
The pharmaceutical industry reiterates its commitment to bring health to society, researching & developing new medicines, and with the sustainability of the healthcare system, defending the responsible and rational use of medicines, which will ultimately lead to avoiding that no patient will be deprived of the medicines he needs, but also that no unnecessary treatment will be administered.