Drug Sales Grow in Poland Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Current News, Regulations

Pharmaceutical sales rocketed in Poland ahead of the introduction of new drug reimbursement regulations and changes to the official list of subsidized drugs.

Under the reimbursement law adopted by parliament last year and introduced this January, the Ministry of Health will negotiate the so-called fixed refundable price of a drug with its manufacturer. On the basis of this price, the official profit margin will be calculated—ultimately 5 percent; at the moment, it is 8.91 percent. This means that the prices of reimbursed drugs (which means those subsidized from public funds) will be identical in all pharmacies. Previously pharmacies often charged promotional prices for drugs financed by the National Health Fund; some of these drugs could be bought for next to nothing.

The Health Ministry says the reimbursement law will put an end to a situation in which patients buy drugs even when they do not need them—encouraged by the low prices of subsidized drugs offered by pharmaceutical companies. Being part of the reimbursement system guarantees much greater revenue for pharmaceutical companies than when the drug is distributed on the market outside the state subsidy system.

The new regulations, and especially the revised reimbursement list, from which many drugs were removed, have provoked much controversy. After appeals from various interest groups, including patients and doctors, the list was expanded to include drugs such as those used by patients after transplant surgery, those used in the treatment of bronchial asthma in children, and painkillers for cancer patients, in addition to medical supplies such as blood glucose test strips. The list was first published in the form of a public notice rather than an official regulation as it was done previously. Under the reimbursement law, the list will be updated every two months.

No less controversy was provoked by reimbursement law provisions under which doctors were to be financially responsible for any mistakes made when writing out prescriptions for their patients—they were to meet the costs of any unauthorized reimbursement together with interest. Pharmacists were also made financially responsible for any mistakes made while issuing medication to patients. These new rules led to protests from doctors and pharmacists.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.