Pharmaceutical spending, a workhorse
Despite the promotion of policies of restraint and moderation drug spending in the hospital setting, the latest data provided by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration indicate that this item grew 26% between February 2015 and January 2016, and has become one of the major responsible for increasing the state deficit.
Since May last year, the regional governments should regularly inform the central government about what their spending on drugs and medical devices, whether they are dispensed prescription in pharmacies as those used in hospitals.
While in the first case the budget grew by only 2.23% over 2014, with hospitals and health care centers it soared , reaching 10,706 million euros . Although a significant part of this increase stems from the introduction of new drugs for hepatitis C, some depletion observed in traditional management systems in the field of hospital pharmacy. Depletion derives not only higher costs, but can also affect the productivity of the healthcare service.
The models based on the purchase of equipment and technological solutions have long ceased to be profitable. According to a study by the Spanish Federation of Healthcare Technology Companies (Fenin), one of four teams diagnosis, monitoring and therapy can be considered obsolete.
Given this evidence, the Spanish health should bet on other formats investment to ensure access to advanced infrastructure and more dynamic, evolving procurement. And that also allow cost savings and improve quality while benefits. We are talking about payment methods based on the use and / or evaluation of performance against policies aligned with the establishment of fixed prices. Currently, there are new models of collaboration that can provide important advantages over traditional systems. An example of these are joint venture agreements, they are getting very good results, and more specifically in the field in question, allowing access to technology in the best conditions and sustainably. Its application in different hospitals have demonstrated greater guarantees in procurement processes, conservation, preparation and administration of medicines. It also facilitates compliance with legislation affecting those substances that require a specific control and establishes an information protocol drugs internally, improving significantly the efficiency.
Increasingly common purchases of drugs by this route or the adoption of technological solutions in which the invoice based on the value they provide their services provider.
Precisely the Law on Public Sector Contracts (LSCP) provides this type of variable formulas. Among others, it determines the possibility that the price of products purchased by a health center can vary depending on specific goals, deadlines or performance or that a risk – sharing between the Administration and the contractor can be established. This law even establishes a set of procedures through which governments should enter into such agreements.
There is no doubt that the Spanish health system has to make a clear commitment to innovation and undertake many structural changes and concept if you want to keep level of quality that has positioned itself as a world reference. Pharmaceutical costs are and will long remain one of the main workhorses given the evolution of medical treatments and increased life expectancy. The goal should not only be to control it , but to advance a possible reduction of costs without compromising quality of care.
At present, both hospitals and professionals are prepared to take this transformation, it is only that those responsible for Administrations , current and those to come, face this challenge with courage.