Competition Council: Doctors prescribe certain expensive drugs and recommend certain pharmacies

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Doctors prescribe more expensive drugs and direct patients only to certain pharmacies, being influenced by the marketing budgets of companies in this sector, say the findings of a survey conducted by the Competition Council on the pharmaceutical market, a press release issued on Wednesday informs.

Generic drugs, although at least by 35% cheaper than their innovative variants, fail to capture a significant market share, even after several years from the entry on the market. Meanwhile, the competition authority found that there are markets where, with the introduction of generic versions of an innovative drug, the market share of other innovative medicine, for which there is no generic equivalent yet, increase.

The conclusions are similar to the previous inquiry in this sector, completed by the Competition Council in 2011, which showed that there is a high concentration of certain markets, mainly due to trading mostly innovative drugs.

However, the analysis showed that 57% of patients require a specific trade name following the doctor’s recommendation, although in Romania, prescription of drugs is made according to the active substance and only in exceptional circumstances by brand.

“The Competition Council has identified as a possible cause of these behaviours the intensive promotion carried out by the manufacturers of innovative medicines. Thus, on average, a company producing innovative medicines spends about 9% of its turnover for promotion, while a company producing generic drugs allocates about 5%. In 2014, the expenditures on promotion and advertising by drug producers in Romania amounted to about RON 362 million,” the Competition Council informs.

The Competition Council claims that doctors could be encouraged to prescribe generic drugs by offering financial incentives, if they fall within a set monthly budget and the savings against the budget could be used by doctors for other purposes such as trainings.

Competition Council recommends the elimination of benefits that can be offered to doctors by the pharmacies or distributors representatives, so that they, in turn, distribute promotional coupons only available to patients in some pharmacies. In this way, there will be real competition between pharmacies, based on competitive pricing and quality service.

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