Average cost per prescription drops 1.19% in year of runaway inflation

CARLOS ARGANDE | 25.01.2023 – 21:10

The average expenditure per prescription billed to the National Health System (SNS) during the year 2022 fell by 1.19%, a figure that contrasts with the increase in the general consumer price index ( CPI) which reached 5.4%.

Thus, medicines are one of the few economic areas, along with energy, transport and heating, in which prices have fallen in 2022, according to information on national heading indices, which include up to 57 types of goods and services, prepared by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

This situation places the industry in a complicated situation, as various agents of the sector denounce, since the expenses related to the production and logistics of drugs have been increasing their costs for some time. Circumstances such as these have even led Portugal to linearly increase the price of the cheapest drugs to try to ensure their continuity on the market, which has also been requested in Spain.

The evolution of the average cost per prescription in recent years, according to data published by the Ministry of Health, is very fluid. Thus, in 2022, the average prescription cost the National Health System (SNS) 11.35 euros. This figure contrasts with that of 12.66 euros per prescription recorded 20 years ago, in 2002, with which average expenditure would have fallen by 10.3%, far from the 51.8% that the CPI has increased all these years. . Compared to 2012, a significant difference is also observed between the evolution of the average cost per prescription and the CPI. While the former grew by 6.2%, the latter almost tripled to 16.4%.

In any case, according to the close of prescription billing for 2022, pharmaceutical expenditure has increased by 4.93% throughout this year for all of Spain, an expenditure that has been driven by demand, which has increased of 6.19%. Thus, total expenditure fell from 11,746.9 million euros to 12,323.9; while the number of prescriptions issued increased from 1,022.7 to 1,086 million.

In this regard, it should be noted that the number of prescriptions issued per inhabitant broke a new record and stood at 22.8 prescriptions per person per year, or 43% more than the 12.06 recorded in 2002 and 18% than the 19.3 prescriptions consumed by each person in 2012.

In any case, pharmaceutical expenditure billed by prescription is still lower than the record expenditure recorded in 2009, before the measures taken in 2010 by the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and in 2012 by Mariano Rajoy. In 2022, the figure remained at 12,326 million euros, while in 2019 it was 1.45% higher, reaching 12,506 million.

CCAA behavior

The behavior of the different pharmaceutical expenditure parameters in the different Autonomous Communities throughout 2022 has been quite similar in all of them. All saw their average cost per prescription decrease while they saw the number of prescriptions dispensed increase, driving up the total bill amount.

By region, those that have seen their number of containers invoiced increase the most are Murcia (8.46%); Valencian Community (7.36%) and Andalusia (7.24%); For their part, those with the lowest increase in this indicator are the Basque Country (3.69%); Castile-La Mancha (3.69%) and Extremadura (4.33%).

With regard to the increase in expenditure, the communities in which it has increased the most are Murcia (6.31%); Madrid (5.80%) and La Rioja (5.62%); while those where the increase has been contained are the Basque Country (2.35%); Castile-La Mancha (3.35%) and Navarre (3.87%).

Regarding the average cost per prescription, it should be noted that it fluctuated between 10.82 in Andalusia or 10.83 euros per bottle dispensed in Madrid and 12.21 euros per prescription in the Balearic Islands or 12.04 euros in Extremadura. Regarding the annual variation, all regions recorded a reduction in the average cost per prescription that varies between the decrease of 2.34% in the Valencian Community and the reduction of 0.34% in Castilla-La Mancha.

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