As healthcare budgets are continuously rising in Europe, governments implement a wide variety of policies to control them. Reference pricing is a popular tool for governments to contain pharmaceutical expenditures, as 22 European countries have implemented this system. This article evaluates the impact of reference-pricing systems on drug use, drug prices, drug expenditure and health outcomes. In addition, two case studies, one for statins and one for proton-pump inhibitors, were carried out. Reference pricing drives down prices of drugs subject to the system and the use of these drugs has increased. Reference pricing creates short-term savings but the long-term growth of drug expenditure has not been reduced by reference pricing. Health outcomes of patients were not negatively affected by the system.

drug expenditure, drug prices, drug use, generic, health outcome, pharmaceuticals, PPI, reference pricing, reimbursement, statins,
Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research
Department of Pharmacy

Dylst, P, Vulto, A.G, & Simoens, S. (2011). The impact of reference-pricing systems in Europe: A literature review and case studies. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research (Vol. 11, pp. 729–737). doi:10.1586/erp.11.70