We are in the mist of crucial weeks for the acquisition of health commitments from different political parties. Therefore, the organizations promoting the It’s not Healthy campaign have mailed letters to ask the main candidates for the upcoming April 28th elections to commit to take measures that guarantee equity and access for all citizens to health services and medicines necessary to recover or maintain their health.
The organizations remind them that hospital spending on drugs—those dispensed by hospitals—continues to grow, particularly for new drugs, endangering the already limited resources of the Spanish health system. According to government data, the expenditure between January and November of 2017 was 5.803 million euros and during the same period in 2018 it was 6.303 million euros. This shows an increase of 8.6%, well above, for example, of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which during the same period only increased by 2.5%, or of contributory pensions, which grew only by 1.6%.
Especially concerning is the case of oncological drugs which, according to the Ministry of Health, already accounts for 25.4% of hospital pharmaceutical spending, exceeding 1.826 million euros in 2018, 18% more than in 2017.
Therefore, It’s not Healthy calls on the different parties to commit to take measures to ensure the sustainability of the health system and guarantee that there will be more transparency in the decision-making that affects drug funding. “If hospital pharmaceutical spending grows and innovation prices are unaffordable, we need to know why, what is the data and what decisions are rationalized by the responsible organizations,” the letter says. Likewise, they remind us that the research and development agendas for new drugs should respond to the health needs of the population, placing people at the center, and not be solely governed by the industry’s economic benefit and business interests.
The campaign also calls on the different candidates to commit to support the research that today is already taking place within the public system, as is the case with the CAR-T therapies, by strengthening investment in public research centers and in the hospital and university network. “Only a real commitment to this reinforcement will permit the public hospitals to improve responses to patient needs. Ultimately, today’s public investment in biomedicine is the answer to tomorrow’s needs,” they say.
In addition, we call for more commitments on accessibility, so that all of the data and results of publicly-financed research and publications are open and shared. At the same time, we ask that intellectual property protection, especially through patents, not be an obstacle for patients when accessing drugs.
In the following weeks, prior to the elections, the organizations of It’s not Healthy will be very attentive to the commitments made by the different parties and will follow their electoral proposals.
Photo: Joan Grifols (Flickr)