The European Generic medicines Association (EGA) has expressed concerns over news that the Italian Government is planning to implement a tendering procedure in the retail sector. According to the EGA, after assurances from the Italian Government that stability would return to the country's pharmaceutical sector, it and the Italian generic industry organisation, Assogenerici, have learnt that an amendment to the financial law has been tabled to introduce a tendering system.
The EGA noted that the generic medicines sector contributes some EUR 300mn in savings every year in Italy. The organisation claimed that if approved, the rules contained in the amendment would have serious consequences for the Italian generic industrial sector, which currently provides some 10,000 direct jobs in Italy alone. The EGA argued that a tendering system applied in the retail sector, combined with the delays in payments by hospitals and the pay-back mechanism currently in place in Italy, represent a very serious risk to the generic medicines industry in Italy.
The EGA commented that experience from other European countries has demonstrated that this kind of approach is short-sighted. Tendering systems contribute to a reduction in the number of companies operating in the market, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, and to market concentration at active substance level. This creates the potential for shortages and supply problems, and for significant disruptions in the supply channel.