We began a new week with yet another crucial result for our patients. The Government, the Malta Medicines Authority, and the Malta Consumer Affairs and Competition Authority have all worked tirelessly for the price reductions of an additional 23 medicines already available on the market, and 15 new generic products to be introduced locally.
The Government is committed to accessible medicines by keeping these at a reasonable price without compromising the quality, security, or efficacy of medical products. Through full cooperation by all stakeholders involved, amongst them the Malta Medicines Authority and the Malta Consumer Affairs and Competitions Authority, these further 23 price reductions were possible.
Consumers will now benefit from reductions of up to 40% for medicines treating inflammations, cardiac problems, prevention of blood clots, and depression. In the past weeks, vaccines treating type B Meningitis were also decreased by €25.
We also introduced new generic medicines and biosimilars, including treatments for thrombosis, where patients can now save up to €28, and new medicines for treatment of inflammations, by which the patient may now save up to €33.
This is of course possible thanks to unprecedented commitment by both the MMA and the MCCAA, which hold continuous dialogue with all medical stakeholders to keep our medicine prices reasonable for our consumers.
All medicines are registered with the Malta Medicines Authority, meaning that although they are available in the local market at a reduced price, they are of the same quality and efficacy as other medicines in the European market. The Medicines Authority also established the Medicines Intelligence and Access Unit, which analyses products available in the foreign market, their prices and availability, and how these can be made easily and reasonably accessible to our patients.
Access to affordable medicines is fundamental to public health and economic growth, which is why the MCCAA also assures just medicine prices in the private sector. External price referencing is one of the common tools used by EU Member States for the price reduction of different medical products. It is a benchmarking exercise which establishes different prices as a guideline for product prices in a particular country. This is how the Government, interested parties in the pharmaceutical industry, and the MCCAA compare domestic prices with the added value of 12 EU Member States.
Both the MCCAA and the MMA also promote consumer rights when it comes to choice of medicines, particularly the consumers’ perception on generic medicines. This provides our patients with the same treatmens as the original medicine, at a lower price, however, consumers may not be aware that medicine safety and efficacy has not been compromised, nor is the quality of the product in any way inferior.
For this reason, patients and consumers are encouranged to reach out to medical professionals about generic medicines available.
Keeping this in mind, the Medicines Authority is also continuing a campaign it launched 4 years ago; Medicines: A better choice for you by publishing informative leaflets which are distributed in all our pharmacies. Here, consumers will be informed of the differences between original and generic medicines, how their prices vary, and how the patient can discuss alternative medical products with their doctor or pharmacist.
The Government has strengthened the pharmaceutical industry as part of its strategy to provide high quality medicines and medical services to our patients, and to strengthen Malta’s reputation with foreign stakeholders. The trust shown by foreign investors in the industry is proof of a fruitful, ambitious strategy which aims at a more competitive country that attracts unprecedented investment.
In 5 years, 167 medicines have been made cheaper, with reductions reaching up to 67%. In fact, this is the twelfth instance that medicine prices were reduced during the past 5 years. The Government and all stakeholders have upped their game in the pharmaceutical industry to keep providing the best possible treatment to our citizens, even as the industry grows and changes.
We would be wrong in thinking we have already done enough. The pharmaceutical industry must keep working hand-in-hand with the educational field, the health sector, and all interested stakeholders to push the industry to be the best it can be. This is how we ensure safety and protection of our patients and consumers, and how we strengthen our reputation with foreign investors as a competitive, serious jurisdiction worth investing in.
The health, safety, and dignity of our citizens will remain a priority for the Government, which will keep researching the latest medical products and services available for different conditions.