Hungary: Falling Behind for Innovative Medicines

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Hungarian patients currently experience longer wait times and more limited access to subsidised innovative medicines than their neighbours in Bulgaria and Slovakia.leading some organisations to urge the government to increase funding and shorten approval times.

 

According to the Hungarian Association of Innovative Pharma Manufacturers, since 2016 only 48 new and innovative medicines have been made available in Hungary, compared to 71 in Bulgaria and 69 in Slovakia. Government spending on medicines has fallen by more than USD 60 million in the last ten years, dropping to as low as 0.76% of GDP. Furthermore, even when a drug is approved, Hungarian patients have a lengthy wait to be able to access it: the average length of time for subsidised medicines to become available in Hungary is 635 days.

 

Subsidies for innovative medicines come from both state resources and a special tax levied on pharmaceutical manufacturers. In 2018, the pharma manufacturer taxes collected by the state amounted to about HUF 100 billion (USD 338 million), more than one-fourth of the state subsidy.

 

Hungary’s pharmaceutical associations are calling on the government to remedy the issue by increasing funding and shortening approval times. The Association for Innovation in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing emphasizes that by increasing the state budget directly allocated to medicines, Hungarian patients could get access to more modern and efficient innovative medicinal products, which could significantly contribute to increasing their chances of healing and improving their quality of life. Greater access to cutting-edge medications could also boost Hungarian life expectancy, which currently stands at five years lower than the European Union average.

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