Bulgaria Attempts to Lower Medication Prices Legislatively

Health | March 9, 2012, Friday // 11:13|  views

Bulgaria's Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov, insists he did not know about the more costly medications paid by NZOK. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov, will propose legal amendments aimed at lowering prices of medications paid for by the National Health Insurance Fund, NZOK.

Speaking before Members of the Parliament from the Healthcare Committee, the Minister explained the measures have two goals – to bring prices of medications to their 2010 levels, when the signing of the contracts was under the authority of the Health Ministry, not NZOK, and to lower prices of all other prescription medications.

According to Konstantinov, the fiscal effect will be at least BGN 15 M more for NZOK and the hospitals in the course of one year.

Other changes will involve mandating pharmaceutical companies to notify about price reductions for the same medication in the so-called referent countries every six months, instead of the current 12. The referent countries are used to compare these prices with the ones in Bulgaria. The other proposal is to increase the number of these countries. Currently, for each medication from the so-called "positive list," the registered price is the lowest of all that are paid with State funding in 13 EU Member States. The idea is to add to them neighboring countries which are not in the EU – Serbia, Macedonia, and Turkey.

The amendments must be passed in the Parliament in order to become effective.

Konstantinov reiterated that he did not know about the more costly medications and was guilty only of overly trusting his now-dismissed Deputy, Gergana Pavlova, who was in charge of the medication policy of the institution.

On Thursday Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, confirmed he had ordered a probe in the case, and promised that if there is established evidence of a crime, there would be a Court trial.

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Tags: referent, NZOK, Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, probe, prices, medications, Stefan Konstantinov, Boyko Borisov, health minister, medication, policy, Simeon Djankov, Gergana Pavlova, Deputy Health Minister


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