BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: With constant incentives for healthcare payers to contain their pharmaceutical budgets, modelling policy decision impact became critical. The objective of this project was to test the impact of various policy decisions on pharmaceutical budget (developed for the European Commission for the project ‘European Union (EU) Pharmaceutical expenditure forecast’ – http://ec.europa.eu/health/healthcare/key_documents/index_en.htm). METHODS: A model was built to assess policy scenarios’ impact on the pharmaceutical budgets of seven member states of the EU, namely France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. The following scenarios were tested: expanding the UK policies to EU, changing time to market access, modifying generic price and penetration, shifting the distribution chain of biosimilars (retail/hospital). RESULTS: Applying the UK policy resulted in dramatic savings for Germany (10 times the base case forecast) and substantial additional savings for France and Portugal (2 and 4 times the base case forecast, respectively). Delaying time to market was found be to a very powerful tool to reduce pharmaceutical expenditure. Applying the EU transparency directive (6-month process for pricing and reimbursement) increased pharmaceutical expenditure for all countries (from 1.1 to 4 times the base case forecast), except in Germany (additional savings). Decreasing the price of generics and boosting the penetration rate, as well as shifting distribution of biosimilars through hospital chain were also key methods to reduce pharmaceutical expenditure. Change in the level of reimbursement rate to 100% in all countries led to an important increase in the pharmaceutical budget. CONCLUSIONS: Forecasting pharmaceutical expenditure is a critical exercise to inform policy decision makers. The most important leverages identified by the model on pharmaceutical budget were driven by generic and biosimilar prices, penetration rate, and distribution. Reducing, even slightly, the prices of generics had a major impact on savings. However, very aggressive pricing of generic and biosimilar products might make this market unattractive and can be counterproductive. Worth noting, delaying time to access innovative products was also identified as an effective leverage to increase savings but might not be a desirable policy for breakthrough products. Increasing patient financial contributions, either directly or indirectly via their private insurances, is a more likely scenario rather than expanding the national pharmaceutical expenditure coverage.