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HEALTH

Rösler threatens pharma industry with drug discounts

German Health Minister Philipp Rösler on Wednesday threatened the pharmaceutical industry with mandated drug discounts to help rein in costs.

Rösler threatens pharma industry with drug discounts
Photo: DPA

In an interview with daily Bild, the 37-year-old trained physician said he would require drug firms to negotiate with public health insurers “as soon as possible” to lower prices for medicines.

“I always said that I would take a hard approach to the pharmaceutical industry and their prices,” the pro-business Free Democrat told the paper, adding that until the two sides reached a new agreement, there would be mandatory discounts and a price moratorium.

But Rösler did not tell the paper exactly what kind of price reductions consumers could expect.

“That depends on the negotiation results,” he said, but added they could total some €2 billion.

In addition to providing their products for a more affordable price, drug companies will also be required to publish a scientific study on the benefits of their medications.

Rösler said he plans to present the plan to coalition party parliamentary groups soon.

“The law will be in place by the end of the year at the latest,” he told the paper.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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