Prescription meds prices planned to shrink by quarter in Latvia

This autumn, the prices of prescription medicines should decrease by 15-20%, according to the new pricing model for prescription medicines developed by the Ministry of Health and presented on Tuesday, 11 June.

The Ministry  believes that cheaper medicines are a realistic scenario if the new pricing model it has developed is implemented.

The basic idea is to reduce patients' co-payments, both for prescription services and for reimbursable medicines.

Currently, the minimum amount reimbursed by the State for medicines is 50%, but this will be increased to 75%. Under the new model, for each prescription, the pharmacy will have to pay 75 cents, with the state paying the other 75 cents.

Currently, a separate prescription service surcharge is only set for state-reimbursed medicines with 100% reimbursement. The ministry explained that despite the separation of the fee for the pharmacist's consultation, the final price paid by the patient at the pharmacy will be lower than it is now.

The ministry plans to make the price of medicines within and outside the reimbursement system the same. 

There are no plans to reduce VAT on medicines, which is currently 12%.

Kristīne Jučkoviča, Executive Director of the Latvian Pharmaceutical Care Association, told Latvian Radio that the association had not received a clear outline from the ministry on the model for reducing the prices of medicines, which the organization finds very worrying.

"We are still waiting to see what the model is. Such a sensitive issue for the population has not been discussed with the industry," Jučkoviča added, pointing out that the ministry had only presented the drug price reduction plan to the association in a superficial way.

The Health Ministry noted that the medicine pricing model presented Tuesday is being put out for public consultation, during which the public and the industry have until June 26 to submit their proposals and opinions.

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