Overview of the pharmaceutical expenditure in the public sector

By September 17, 2018 Economic Activities

Farmaindustria, the Spanish association of pharmaceutical industries, has recently published an analysis showing that the Spanish public pharmaceutical expenditure has decreased without sacrificing innovation. The latest data shows that, although the public healthcare sector is not spending as much on pharmaceuticals as in 2010, innovative medicines still reach the patients. Pharmaceutical expenditure represented a 1.43% of the GDP in 2017, lower than the 1.57% of 2010. This is possible thanks to the price pressure after a patent expires and generics appear in the market, this is known as reference pricing. Currently, 8 out of 10 pharmaceuticals consumed are generics and they represent 55% of the Spanish pharmaceuticals market. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry has a low success rate, with only 11.8% of the compounds reaching the market and being approved by the healthcare authorities.

Figure 1. Total pharmaceutical expenditure over the years (2010-2017)


Source: adapted from graphic from Farmaindustria

At the same time, the Spanish Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Sanidad Servicios Sociales e Igualdad) has published the 2016 Report on Public Healthcare Expenditure (Estadística de Gasto Sanitario Público). In this report, the analysis is done at country level and autonomically. The public healthcare expenditure is based on the analysis of the final amount of service requested, including data from all the different healthcare institutions that either provide healthcare or finance it. This report represents the basis for the Health System Accounts (Sistema de Cuentas de Salud) report that follows the A System of Health Accounts manual published by the OECD in the year 2000.
The Report on Public Healthcare Expenditure shows that from 2012 to 2016 the percentage of the GDP on public healthcare expenditure has been around 6%, reaching €66.7 million in 2016. The remuneration of healthcare professionals in the sector represented a total of 44,5% of the expenditure in 2016, summing up to €29.7 million. In 2016, pharmaceutical expenditure was of €10.9 million and medical devices and transfers €1.2 million.
Among the different autonomous communities, the ones with the highest percentage of the GDP expenditure on public healthcare were Extremadura (9.4%), Asturias (7.6%), and Murcia (7.5%). However, the Basque Country and Asturias were the ones that spent the most per civilian with €1,669 and €1,577, respectively. In 2016, Catalonia, Andalusia, and Madrid represented the 44.2% of the total public health expenditure, it has to be noted that they are also the three most populated autonomous communities. Moreover, Catalonia and Madrid also gather most of the hospitals that offer highly specialized services for the rest of the country.

Figure 2. Percentage of the Regional Domestic Gross invested in healthcare expenditure. 2016

Source: adapted from the Ministry of Health data on regional expenditure


– El gasto farmacéutico público en España sigue por debajo del nivel de 2010 pese a la incorporación de innovaciones, Farmaindustria, May 2018 (Link)
– Estadística de Gasto Sanitario Público 2016, Ministerio de Sanidad Servicios Sociales e Igualdad, March 2018 (Link)


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    • ¡Muchas gracias Técnico Murca! 🙂

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