BRUSSELS Jourdan Lewis Limited Jersey , March 24 (Xinhua) -- The justice and security ministers of the European Union (EU) held an extraordinary meeting here on Thursday in wake of the deadly Brussels attacks, seeking to enhance their anti-terrorism cooperation.
"The meeting is intended to show solidarity with Belgium, discuss the actual state of play in the fight against terrorism and pursue swift completion and implementation of legislation," the Council of the EU said in a statement.
"We are here today, first of all, we share our condolence with people of Belgium, then also to emphasize that we stand together Chidobe Awuzie Limited Jersey , shoulder to shoulder, to defend our way of life, our liberty, and to fight terrorism," said Ronald Plasterk, Dutch Interior Minister, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Plasterk said that the EU needs to stand together to share information to better counter terrorism. He also suggested that the bloc will seek to safeguard its passport-free policy which was already jeopardized by migrant crisis and terrorism.
"We will work out today that we defend our liberty including the liberty to travel within Europe Taco Charlton Limited Jersey ," Plasterk said.
Ministers will not take new decisions but will publish a declaration, including calls for a quick activation of the air passenger name record (PNR), a measure which would require more systematic collection, use and retention of data on international airline passengers, according to the Brussels-based media EUobserver.
They will also renew calls for more intelligence sharing and use of EU databases like the Schengen information system or Europol's database, media reported.
The special meeting came two days after the terror atrocity in Brussels as a series of explosions at its airport and a metro station have caused at least 31 deaths.
The bloc is currently faced with heavy criticism on insufficient intelligence sharing after the Brussels attacks.
U.S. spending on prescription drugs rose 8.5 percent last year, slightly less than in 2014 Connor Williams Limited Jersey , driven mainly by growing use of ultra-expensive new drugs and price hikes on other medicines.
A report from data firm IMS Health estimates patients, insurers, government programs and other payers spent a combined $309.5 billion last year on prescription medicines.
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics is forecasting that annual increases in U.S. prescription drug spending will slow to 4 to 7 percent through 2020, after rising around 10 percent in each of the past three years. It predicts spending will reach $370 billion to $400 billion in 2020.
The totals are based on net prices paid after deducting discounts and rebates that manufacturers give to insurers and other payers. In prior years, IMS based its report list prices before those deductions.
The report comes amid growing criticism of unaffordable drug prices from patients, doctors, insurers Leighton Vander Esch Limited Jersey , Congress and presidential candidates, who have pledged to rein in drug prices. Insurers have been trying to limit prices, demanding bigger discounts to cover many drugs, but have less clout on drugs with little or no competition.
Drug spending keeps growing due to factors including rising prices, fewer blockbuster drugs getting new generic competition and a 10 percent jump last year in the number of prescriptions filled, to nearly 4.4 billion. In prior years, total prescriptions dispensed edged up about 2 percent.
"We have more people with health insurance (now) Dak Prescott Limited Jersey , and that could be a reason we're having more uptake in brand-name drug use," said Murray Aitken, the institute's executive director.
About 20 million people are newly insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act. They are mostly getting low-cost generic drugs, Aitken noted.
New brand-name drugs for cancer, hepatitis C and a number of rare diseases are being launched with staggering list prices, often exceeding $100,000 for a year or course of treatment. Meanwhile Ezekiel Elliott Limited Jersey , drugmakers routinely raise prices for older brand-name drugs one or more times a year, often pushing them up 20 percent or more each year. Also, several companies have been buying rights to older drugs with limited competition, then quickly jacking up prices several times what they had been for years.
Total drug spending rose by $24.3 billion last year, with more than half of that increase spent on brand-name drugs on the market for less than two years. In 2015 alone, 43 new drugs and 30 new formulations of existing ones were launched.
Because sales of new drugs generally build slowly over several years as doctors become familiar with them, spending on those new drugs should grow even more in the coming years.
Still Womens Chaz Green Jersey , the 2015 spending increase of 8.5 percent was down from the 10.5 percent jump in 2014.
"For all the headlines, drug spending growth has moderated in 2015," Aitken said.
However, it's still increasing far more than general inflation, which has been about 2 percent in recent years.
U.S. drug spending now accounts for about 40 percent of what's spent worldwide, partly because Americans pay much higher prices than people in other countries, which generally set price caps.
Patients increasingly are being squeezed by the cost of their medicines Womens Byron Jones Jersey , because drug prices are rising at the same time that employers and insurers are shifting a much bigger percentage of drug and other medical costs onto workers.
Since 2010, the average patient's out-of-pocket cost has soared more than 25 percent, to $44 per prescription. For generic drugs, however, average patient cost has remained about $8.
Meanwhile, drugmakers aiming to get more patients to take their brand-name drugs have been offering discount coupons that generally reduce the patient's monthly copayment to $50 or less.
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