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June 4, 2010.
France and Italy have joined the joined the European austerity package bandwagon and announced major healthcare spending cuts. France is to speed up plans to reduce drug prices by E100 million after a report found that its 2010 health spending has gone E600 million over budget. French health ministry spokesman Noël Renaudin was defiant in his announcement: “We have to stop the infinite growth in prices for drugs. It’s no longer reasonable.” Similarly, Italy has announced E24 billion of cuts, with E1.35 billion to be shaved off pharmaceutical spending. The country will cut the prices of generic drugs by 12.5% until the end of 2010 and from next year will limit reimbursement of prescription drugs to the cheapest versions only.The cuts follow the news of crisis-hit Greece’s Draconian plans to impose reductions of 20–27 per cent on patent medicines and to price generics at 30 per cent lower than the brand.