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Global Medical Forum Annual Meeting

A few semi-random observations from this excellent conference.
1. The rate of inflation in medical expenses in the EU is essentially identical to that in the US. This despite the major differences between the systems; drug and procedure price controls, very limited access to some new technology, end-of-life care restriction/rationing, and mandatory coverage. Yes, our expenditures are higher, but that is only because we started from a higher base. The EU’s costs are going up just as fast as the US’.
2. Generic drugs are much more expensive in the EU than in the US, partly because most countries in the EU set “reference prices” that effectively keep prices high when drugs come off patent. According to panelists in the session I moderated, this serves to reduce the incentive for drug companies to innovate, as their returns are quite adequate for absolutely no risk.
Compare this to the new drug development business, where 10,000 compounds are required to deliver one new drug, and the reference-priced generics look like a much better business.
3. The new intellectual property protection law in India, passed within the last couple of months, has already generated strong interest from pharmas in moving or locating drug R&D as well as manufacturing in that country. The highly educated workforce, 300 million-strong population of middle class consumers, and new patent protection will likely make India a very powerful force in pharma, and sooner rather than later.

One thought on “Global Medical Forum Annual Meeting”

  1. “The rate of inflation in medical expenses in the EU is essentially identical to that in the US.”
    I have observed the same over the past several years while investigating some of the European markets in which my organization has employees. For example, a 16% average annual increase in health care expenditures over the past 5 years in the Netherlands. Did the conference provide any sources for this conclusion that you could link to?

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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