State reimbursement rates for medicines to rise in Latvia

To improve patients' access to medicines and reduce direct payments for medicines, from July 1, 2024, the amount of state reimbursement will be increased to 75% for medicines that currently have a 50% state reimbursement rate, the government decided on Tuesday, March 26.

This is expected to reduce the cost of medicines for more than 205,000 patients.

To change the national reimbursement rate, €1.7 million have been reallocated.

The Ministry of Health pointed out that currently, people cannot afford to buy all or part of the medicines they need, which leads to avoidable hospital admissions, hospital costs, and avoidable mortality.

According to the Ministry's data, 28.4% of the population in Latvia have experienced financial difficulties in purchasing reimbursable medicines prescribed by a doctor in recent years, while 45.8% of the population admit that they have been forced to purchase only some of the reimbursable medicines because the co-payment for the medicines was too high. Internet surveys also show that the cost of reimbursable medicines in Latvia is very high and that the purchase of reimbursable medicines represents a relatively large proportion of the total daily budget.

Similarly, data on the consumption of medicines show that the most common groups of medicines in Latvia have lower consumption than in Lithuania and Estonia, while expenditure on medicines is higher, indicating that the cost of medicines for the population is on average higher.

The changes to the Cabinet of Ministers' regulations adopted today also provide for easier inclusion of generic, biosimilar medicines in the list of reimbursable medicines from April 1 and revised conditions for individual reimbursement of medicines, extending the possibility for patients to receive individual reimbursement of medicines. The changes stipulate that if a medicine included in the list of reimbursable medicines is not effective for a particular patient or is contraindicated, the patient will be able to receive another medicine for the relevant diagnosis at an equivalent cost, but up to a maximum of €14,228.72 per year.

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