Bulgarian Pharmacies Suffer Shortage of Life-saving Medicines

Health | December 8, 2010, Wednesday // 20:46|  views

Bulgarian pharmacies are suffering shortage of life-saving medicines due to dealy in the payments by the National Health Insurance Fund. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarians might be left without life-saving medicines because of another delay in the payments of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to pharmacies, Bulgaria's private TV channel bTV informed.

Among the missing medicines are the ones for blood pressure and epilepsy. There is also a shortage of insulin for diabetics.

At present, pharmacies buy medicines from suppliers, and later NHIF repays to pharmacies the sum of the sold medicines. However, if NHIF does not pay on time, pharmacies cannot buy new medicines.

According to data from the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union, 90% of the pharmacies in the country cannot provide new medicines because of overdue payments to suppliers, who have started to accept payments only in cash.

The result of this catch 22 is that patients have to either check all pharmacies for medicines left, or buy them at their free prices.

In the latter option, patients have to pay the whole price of the medicines, without discounts from NHIF. In this way, the insulin would cost about BGN 150 per month.

NHIF has published on its website that it has already transmitted BGN 8 M. However, pharmacies claim that they have not received the money yet. They have also stated that the sum is only half of the fund's obligation,while the new payment by NHIF should be done on December 10.

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Tags: NHIF, National Health Insurance Fund, medicine, pharmacies, Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union, patients


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