Solidaris discusses the Belgian Parliament’s legislative proposal on fair prices


On Wednesday 24 April, following its successful citizens’ initiative on the topic, Solidaris discussed in the Belgian Parliament a proposed law on fair drug prices. Members of the Health and Equal Opportunities Committee held a substantial debate on the social, democratic and budgetary challenges facing the pharmaceutical sector. Discussions were held in the presence of the two Secretaries General of Solidaris Jean-Pascal Labille and Paul Callewaert, as well as Anne Hendrickx, medicines expert for Solidaris.

The legislative proposal is a direct consequence of the campaign that Solidaris has launched to change the law regulating the negotiation of drug prices. A study carried out by Solidaris using the International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM)’s fair pricing calculator and model on a sample of drugs delivered clear results: for recent drugs costing €1.3 billion to the social security system, Belgium paid €1 billion too much to pharmaceutical companies.

On 24 April, debates in the Health Committee and official letters confirmed that there is a broad political consensus on the need for better regulation of the pharmaceutical sector and for support for the introduction of the fair price model developed by AIM as a basis for negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry.

In the aftermath of the hearing, a group of three political parties decided to table a bill to formalise their commitment to this fair price model. However, at present these are at this stage only symbolic – but important – acts since parliamentary work on this will not begin before the start of the next legislature.