In the public domain, every week we see outcries about availability to the needed of certain health care diagnostic and treatment procedures and tests, and ethical formulations in different European countries. In the times of financial crisis, we see EU and EU Member States National Governments heavily involved in the regulation of prices of medicinal products in Europe. As authorities are eager to guarantee the right of health care to the population and doing so by introducing a more fair model of spending the public money (in many cases simply shrinking the budgets), the pharmaceutical industry in Europe is experiencing price pressures like never before. No doubt, lowering pharmaceutical prices has an immediate (but rather not substantial) impact on public spending on health care. But is it the right and the moral message we like to give? Is it true that the society values more a cup of Starbucks Caffe Misto* than the treatment of GERD with Omeprazole**, or is it an example of irrational behavior authorities may be willing to influence (hopefully, to a more rational state)?
: Try to predict the society’s response if legislation that restricts the use of Omeprazole for GERD is being introduced? Now think how a rational response will differ from an irrational response.
*Caffe Misto is brewed coffee and steamed milk; prices may vary for short, tall, grande or venti versions of the product; price also varies regionally, price range estimated EUR 1.61 – 2.09. In France – café au lait; In Spain – café con leche.
**Omeprazole is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), laryngopharyngeal reflux, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome. Now the products are available from many generic manufacturers and costs from EUR 0.2 per day of treatment. In the Netherlands, Omeprazole 20mg is a tendered product and costs less than EUR 0.03 per tablet.
- Prices in the Netherlands after the introduction of the tendering system, Tender systems for outpatient pharmaceuticals in the European Union: Evidence from the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, see page 20
- Is Starbucks Coffee Too Cheap? Forbes
- Discovery and development of proton pump inhibitors, Wikipedia
- Google results for “average spending at Starbucks.”
- Google results for “irrational health care.”
- Free movement of goods, Guide to the application of Treaty provisions governing the free movement of goods, Directorate C, Regulatory Policy, of the Enterprise and Industry DG.