Drugmakers do not simply have to accept launch prices imposed by national payers within the European Union. In fact, reimbursement prices are negotiated, and securing the best prices at launch is critical because it is very difficult to raise them afterwards, reports Research and Markets.

Freedom to set a single European ex-manufacturer price would: end the threat of parallel trade and downward pressure of international comparisons, offer greater predictability and might allow launches straight after approval, although initially without reimbursement.

However, drugmakers have focused increasingly on maintaining the separation of differentially-priced markets. Offering two prices per product per country is one possible solution - a higher "official" price in line with other EU countries or in a narrow price band to restrict parallel trade and international price referencing, and a lower actual price created by rebates paid to poorer countries.