Decision Resources, Inc., one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that various pressures, including a recent unsuccessful lawsuit for Pfizer, have the pharmaceutical industry concerned about the future of the German statin market. According to a new report entitled The Impact of German Reference Pricing for Statins: Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry, the imposition of reference prices on all statins, including patent-protected medicines, has effectively genericized this market.
"Although reference pricing has been imposed in Germany for all statins, Pfizer has refused to cut the price of Sortis (atorvastatin), arguing that its drug is superior to other statins," says Neil Grubert, analyst at Decision Resources. "Pfizer paid for this stand with a disastrous collapse in Sortis's sales and market share. Then, in November 2005, the company lost a legal challenge against the reference pricing of its drug. Pfizer is expected to appeal, but even if it wins this particular battle, it will be a challenge to triumph in the larger pricing and reimbursement war in Germany."
A survey of German physicians conducted by Decision Resources in October 2005 found that 58% regarded atorvastatin as one of the best drugs in its class, but only 3% now prescribe it to most of their dyslipidemic patients. However, if Pfizer cut the drug's price, 59% indicated that they would again favor atorvastatin over other drugs in its class.
The Impact of German Reference Pricing for Statins: Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry includes the following:
* Assessment of how reference pricing has sharply accelerated a recent trend away from the use of atorvastatin. * Analysis of the runaway genericization of the statin market in Germany. * Review of the government's stance on cost containment. * Evaluation of the consequences of challenging the German government and influential health care organizations. * Findings from an important new physician survey on the influence of pricing and reimbursement on physician and patient behavior. * Outlook and implications for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. About Reference Pricing
Reference pricing is the practice of setting a maximum reimbursement price, in most cases only for off-patent medicines, and then requiring patients to pay any excess if the manufacturer sets the retail price above the reference price. This measure directly penalizes patients who use medicines that exceed their reference prices, but it also indirectly penalizes pharmaceutical companies in one of two ways: lower prices or a reduction in the volume of prescriptions (if patients are switched to an alternative drug). Reference pricing may appear to target consumers, but its objective is to force manufacturers to reduce their prices.
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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.
CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc., +1-781-296-2563,
Web site: http://www.decisionresources.com/