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Diabetes, bone, pain drugs may face German price cuts

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Drugs from Novo Nordisk, Amgen, Bayer and other companies could face price cuts in Germany as the country's medical cost-benefit agency widens a review into the value offered by medicines.

The Federal Joint Committee, or G-BA, said on Thursday it would review the cost-effectiveness of a range of drugs in different treatment areas.

The list includes Novo's diabetes drug Victoza, Bayer's blood-thinner Xarelto, Amgen's osteoporosis medicine Prolia, Johnson & Johnson's painkiller Nucynta and Roche's rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra. Other drugs in the same therapeutic class will also be covered by the review.

The G-BA, which will look at the affected drugs one at a time over the coming months, picked these products because they are among the biggest-selling in Germany, based both on revenues and volume sales.

Germany introduced a new system in January 2011 under which newly launched drugs are only allowed free pricing for one year, after which prices are negotiated based on a cost-benefit analysis. The latest initiative by the G-BA extends this system to certain medicines already on the market.

Countries across Europe are taking a harder line in demanding that drugmakers show that the price of their products is commensurate with their clinical value. Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, has carried out such cost-effectiveness reviews for more than a decade.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Ben Hirschler)

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