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Pharmaceutical companies fear the new German plan to publish price discounts agreed with drug makers could hit global profits.

The Bundestag voted to end the practice of basing patient co-payments and wholesaler and pharmacy margins on the list prices of products, which are set by the manufacturers. These will now be set according to products’ negotiated (discounted) prices, which are generally considerably lower than the list prices.

Pharma industry fears publishing the discounts could trigger price falls elsewhere as dozens of healthcare agencies in Europe, and as far as Japan, use German prices as references for their own. Countries which have so far used list prices in Germany could switch to discounted prices as the new standard.

Some executives believe the risk to drug makers is such that they may increasingly skip Germany when bringing new drugs to market rather than letting the German price become the norm elsewhere.

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