Bulgarian Health Fund Secures Discounts for 25 Drugs

Health | March 15, 2012, Thursday // 16:24|  views

Under Bulgarian legislation, the Health Insurance Fund can negotiate discounts only for medications for which it pays 100% and that have no alternative. File photo

The Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund, NZOK, has secured discounts for 25 medications used for hospital treatment.

The new prices to be paid by the Fund are effective Friday, March 16th, according to its press office.

Several days earlier, the management of the Fund sent letters to 62 companies holding licenses for 284 such medications, inviting them the offer discounts for the prices paid by NZOK.

The signing of contracts for another 13 drugs is pending. The price reduction is between 0.04% to over 37%, while the medications are used for the treatment of different types of cancer, diabetes, asthma, schizophrenia, and in cases of transplants, among others.

Under the new contract, NZOK will be able to save over BGN 4.5 M in the course of one year.

NZOK can negotiate discounts only for medications for which it pays 100% and that have no alternative. Pharmaceutical companies can, on their initiative, offer discounts for unique drugs that are paid 25%, 50% or 75% by NZOK, but no firm so far has undertaken such initiative.

It emerged in recent days that NZOK had paid BGN 6 M more for medications in 2011, compared to 2010, when the signing of the contracts was under the authority of the Health Ministry. Some of the medications had a price that skyrocketed 10 or more times in 2011.

Bulgaria's Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov, who has been warned by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov that he could be ousted, says he did not know about the above issue and was guilty only of overly trusting his now-dismissed Deputy, Gergana Pavlova, who was in charge of the medication policy of the institution.

One week ago, 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.

Meanwhile, Konstantinov announced that he will propose legal amendments aimed at lowering prices of medications paid for by NZOK.

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


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