Cut drug prices for rare diseases, minister tells pharmaceutical firms

Drugs companies must cut the price of medicines for two rare diseases to ‘acceptable levels’ to ensure they remain in the basic health insurance package, health minister Edith Schippers said on Wednesday.

She wants drugs firms Genzyme and Shire to cut the cost of their treatments for the diseases Pompe and Fabry, and says negotiations must be completed before the summer.

The health insurance advisory council CVZ caused a storm of protest last summer when it said medicines for the two diseases should not be covered any longer but later softened its stand, saying the minister should aim for a price cut.

Medicine to treat Pompe costs between €400,000 and €700,000 per patient per year, while the Fabry drugs cost €200,000.

‘A satisfactory outcome from these talks is essential to ensure the continuation of the funding of these orphan medicines,’ the minister said in a briefing to parliament.

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