Cyprus Mail

Medicine pricing policy to change in coming weeks

Health Minister Philippos Patsalis

By George Psyllides

The new medicine pricing policy will change in the next two weeks, expecting to bring about a reduction in prices between 8.0 per cent and 10 per cent, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis said on Monday.

Some of the reductions will kick in early on January and some in March 2015.

“We expect the decision that will be taken in the next 15 to 20 days to be implemented by March 2015,” Patsalis said. “The change is expected to bring about a reduction of 8.0 per cent to 10 per cent in the price of medicines.”

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report published in August called for an immediate across-the-board reduction of 8.0 per cent to 8.5 per cent on the price of medicines,

The report, commissioned by the government, said that in 2011 €106.8 million (50.5 per cent) and €104.5 million (49.5 per cent) were spent in the private sector and public sector, respectively, despite the private sector serving less than 20 per cent of the population.

“Per capita spending on drugs in the private sector is among the highest in the world,” said the report, adding that Cypriot generic drug prices were among the highest in Europe.

The minister will also have to overcome difficulties and roll out a national health scheme soon in line with the terms of the island’s bailout agreement.

The matter was discussed on Monday as part of the examination by parliament of the health ministry’s budget for 2015.

Patsalis said the NHS had not been included in the budget for next year, adding that a supplementary budget would be included when the cost was calculated.

He said the first bills will be tabled before parliament in November and the aim was to have them approved by the end of the month.

The ministry’s budget will reach €535 million, slightly higher than 2014 – €530.6 million.

The main expenditure concerns payroll, shift and overtime allowances, expected to reach around €317 million.

Around €19 million will go to development projects, €95 million on meds, and €38 million on consumables and other equipment, €12 million on medical care, and €10 million on subsidies for patients sent overseas for treatment.


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