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Iceland, Denmark, and Norway Collaborate to Lower Drug Prices

Iceland will collaborate with Danish and Norwegian authorities to aim to lower the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, RÚV reports. An agreement between the countries was signed in Reykjavík yesterday. María Heimisdóttir, CEO of Icelandic Health Insurance (IHI), says the co-operation is not only about lowering drug prices for the public, but also patient safety.

“There have been too many examples of drug shortages happening and we firmly expect that purchasing [pharmaceuticals] in larger quantities with our neighbouring countries could reduce drug shortages and thus increase patient safety and that’s of course the most important thing,” María stated. She added that pharmaceutical drugs have often been priced higher in Iceland than other countries, an issue which the project also hopes to address.

Health Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir told reporters it was “very gratifying” to see the collaboration realised, as the project has been in the works for a long time. By launching joint invitations to pharmaceutical companies to bid on the sale of products, Svandís explained, the trio of countries would be in a better position to negotiate lower prices, particularly for certain types of very expensive drugs. Svandís refrained from commenting on which specific drugs were in question, though she stated her hope that the project would start having an impact in the next year or so.

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