Parallel Import of Medicine

Abacus Medicine offers a wide selection of high-quality medicine in the UK

Medicine at more affordable prices

What is parallel import?

Parallel import means the import of original medicines from one EU Member State to another.

Due to different legal regulations, you often have to pay significantly more for the same drug in the UK than in another European country.

Parallel importers, such as Abacus Medicine, import these medicines to the UK in order to be able to offer them to you at lower prices. In this way, we ensure additional competition between the various pharmaceutical companies.

What this means is that a parallel importer, like Abacus Medicine, will buy the original medicine in an EEA Member State and repackage the medicine in a new pack with print and package leaflet in the language of the destination market, so that the medicine adheres to the national legislation. Afterwards, the medicine is distributed to the end-customer in the destination market.

Parallel imported medicines are therefore cheaper originals. The effectiveness, quality and package size of imported medicines correspond completely to the original.

Why parallel import?

Parallel import has a multitude of benefits, but the main benefit is of course the price savings on each pack of medicine.

In a world where healthcare costs are rising continuously, parallel import of medicine offers a safe and efficient way to provide better access to medicines that may otherwise have been more expensive.

In order to counteract the trend of continuously rising healthcare costs, parallel imports create price competition in the otherwise monopolistic market of patent holders of medicinal products. This leads to significant price reductions, especially in the high-price segment.

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Parallel import often creates additional treatment options for patients and the continuation of long-term therapies.

Hospitals and pharmacies

Parallel import makes direct orders available through wholesalers and helps to achieve significant cost savings.

Healthcare spending

By creating price competition in the high-price segment of pharmaceuticals, a reduction in healthcare expenditure becomes possible.

Illustration that shows the relation between parallel import of medicine and price differences

Example: This map shows a snapshot of the public pharmacy purchase price of a pack of a specific prescription medicine.

Parallel import and price differences

Parallel import of medicine offers one of the only ways to ensure price competition in a market where patent holders otherwise have a monopoly.

Within the EU, there are substantial price differences on the exact same medicine. This is due to a complex interplay of multiple factors such as the different EU countries’ financial systems (disposable income, tax levels, demography, currency) and the highly regulated and diverse national healthcare systems (reimbursement processes, private/public sectors, evaluation of efficacy of new/old treatments).

This means that even neighboring countries with similar income levels can have substantial differences in prices on medicines.

As can be seen from the map, the prices for a single pack of medicine can vary considerably in the EU. It must be noted that the pricing landscape may look very different for other kinds of medicine, and countries with high prices for some medicines may have low prices for others. 

Moreover, prices change continuously. It is this complex pricing landscape within the EU that allows parallel importers to harmonise prices on medicine and provide significant value and access to medicine across Europe.

The process behind parallel import

Parallel import of medicine is based on the principle of the free movement of goods within the EU. For Abacus Medicine, this means that we can source original medicines from across the EU and transport them to one of our repackaging facilities. Here, the medicines undergo extensive quality checks followed by the repackaging of the original medicine. The medicines are then distributed to customers across Europe at lower prices.

Abacus Medicine PI process - Data Analysis
Abacus Medicine PI process - Sourcing in Europe
Abacus Medicine PI process - Distribution
Abacus Medicine PI process - Distribution to customers

Why parallel import?

Offering lower prices on medicine benefits both patients, pharmacies, hospitals and public healthcare systems.

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The benefits for patients

Parallel imported medicine offers patients an option to save money without compromising on safety and treatment quality.

Patients gain access to the same original medicine at a lower price without having to shift to a generic or alternative version.

This even holds for brand new medicines. Because parallel importers are subject to the same set of regulatory and quality requirements as the original manufacturers, patients can safely access the newest and best treatments at the best possible price.

The benefits for pharmacies and hospitals

Both pharmacies and hospitals can be under strict budgets. Parallel imported medicines offers an easy and sustainable way to lower costs and meet applicable quotas without compromising on quality.

Through our qualified and trusted network of authorised suppliers throughout Europe, Abacus Medicine is able to supply thousands of pharmacies and hospitals with an extensive range of medicines.

We hold more than 200 product licenses in the UK and more are added every day. This allows us to offer our customers a wide range of medicines within therapeutic areas such as oncology, rheumatology and many more.

The benefits for public healthcare systems

European healthcare systems range from the almost entirely government funded to those relying primarily on private insurance. One thing, they all have in common: healthcare costs are rising as the proportion of elderly is growing.

In the current pricing landscape for pharmaceuticals, many healthcare payers in Europe struggle to limit their expenditure.

Parallel import offers a way for health payers from insurance companies to government bodies to significantly lower healthcare costs without limiting the number of available treatment options for patients, pharmacies and hospitals.

When Abacus Medicine supplies medicines at a more affordable price, the result is significant savings for patients and public healthcare budgets.