THE SOCIAL VALUE OF EQUIVALENT MEDICINE

To appreciate the value - including the social value - of an equivalent medicine you need, first of all, to share a fundamental concept that guides legislators, health-care professionals and the pharmaceutical companies: the right to good health of the population.

HEALTHCARE SERVICE EFFICIENCY AND THE RIGHT TO HEALTH

To appreciate the value - including the social value - of an equivalent medicine you need, first of all, to share a fundamental concept that guides legislators, health-care professionals and the pharmaceutical companies: the right to good health of the population.

The State, using the economic resources available, organises all the services necessary to maintain the health of its population, such as hospital services, home healthcare and pharmaceutical assistance.



During the last few decades assiduous and thorough healthcare services have contributed significantly to the lengthening of the average lifespan of the population, which, according to the latest data, stands at 82 years for women and 78 for men in Italy.

This phenomenon has produced an increase in the need for healthcare and, consequently, an increase in the costs that the state has to face. This has led to the search for ways of financing the services, which at times have required additional efforts on the part of healthcare professionals, as well as the involvement of the population.

THE COST OF RESEARCH

Throughout the years the pharmaceutical industry has discovered, studied and made available medicines, which are more and more effective and better tolerated. This research and development effort obviously has a cost which the State recognises, and which is translated into the cost of the medicine to the purchaser. This system inevitably conflicts with the need of the State to contain its costs, particularly with regard to medicines reimbursed by the SSN.

HOW TO CONTAIN COSTS

The orientation of all the industrialised nations is to stimulate the production of cheaper medicines that preserve the same quality, efficacy and tolerability of the traditional products.

It was therefore decided to permit - once the patents that cover most of the products in use for a certain period lapse - the production of equivalent medicines that have exactly the same characteristics as the original products. This has resulted in a considerable number of industrial initiatives designed to make cheaper products available to the public. These are produced working to the high standards imposed by the health authorities and thoroughly tested, in an attempt to offer the State a valid solution that enables it to continue to provide pharmaceutical assistance to its citizens according to appropriate standards.

EQUIVALENT MEDICINES FREE-UP RESOURCES

Equivalent medicines fulfil a social role, providing low-cost, high-quality medicines. The economic resources freed-up through savings on pharmaceutical products can be used to acknowledge the high costs of research borne by the pharmaceutical companies.

In Italy, however, the move from original medicines to equivalent ones is happening more slowly than in other countries, due in part to their delay in entering the welfare system. The culture of equivalent medicines has yet to become widespread among physicians, pharmacists and patients.

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