Reimbursable meds budget too small and too late, say patient organizations

The Ministry of Health plans to allocate more than €30 million to improve access to reimbursable medicines this year, according to an information report from the Ministry. Patients' organizations say that while the amount seems impressive, it still does not cover the easily foreseeable and equally impressive deficit, Latvian Radio reports April 22.

For years, the health budget has been drawn up knowing from the outset that the money allocated would not be enough. Consequently, the holes have become so large that, in many cases, it is difficult to find patches of the right size.

Patients' organizations and associations involved in the circulation of medicines are also worried that this will be the case, and with good reason, because the Ministry of Health has calculated that even if the additional funding requested for reimbursable medicines is forthcoming, the projected deficit at the end of the year will still be more than EUR 17 million.

Public organizations representing the interests of patients are puzzled as to why so much additional funding could not be requested at once so that there would be no deficit.

The Health Ministry's report also shows that the situation is predictable: the population is declining, but morbidity is rising, especially among oncology, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease patients.

A large amount of extra money has also been provided for the treatment of these patients, but not for other needs: for example, in the area of rare diseases, funds have been provided solely to ensure that patients who are already receiving state-funded medicines can continue to be treated. 

"If we look from the point of view of whether new diagnoses are provided with new innovative medicines, then we do not see from this report an increase in funding," Juris Beikmanis, head of the Latvian Alliance for Rare Diseases, told Latvian Radio.

This means that patients themselves will have to fight for the inclusion of new rare diagnoses in the reimbursement system, the expert explained.

The Ministry of Health says there is not enough money for rare diseases, but there will be new medicines for other groups of diseases.

"5.3 million for the inclusion of completely new medicines and 9.3 million for the list of reimbursable medicines - medicines for expanded diagnoses, which could be called new medicines for certain diagnoses; this is mainly the field of oncology, oncohematology, where we can expect new medicines, and for the treatment of psychiatric diseases, specifically for depression," said Inese Kaupere, Director of the Pharmaceutical Department at the Ministry of Health.

A total of 14.6 million is earmarked for these needs, while nearly 16 million more is earmarked for the aforementioned continuum of care, the Director of the Pharmaceutical Department explained.

As the Ministry of Finance has objected to several parts of the report, the document will still need to be amended and re-harmonized, so the money will not reach patients before mid-May. In the view of patient organizations, this is too late, especially when it is known that the money was already available at the beginning of the year.

There are people behind all the figures, for example, it is known that 215 people will receive completely new medicines for 5.3 million, and almost 600 more patients will have their treatment options expanded for 9.3 million. Since the VM is already calculating that this more than 30 million will not be enough and that the deficit in the list of reimbursable medicines this year will be at least 17 million, it is likely that the funds will have to be requested again and from another source, which could be contingency money, although all these expenses are by no means unforeseen.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important