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 Bulgaria to cap prices of reimbursed drugs from April 10

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PostSubject: Bulgaria to cap prices of reimbursed drugs from April 10   Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:41 am

[size=55:aa67sjz2]Dnevnik 13 January 2010

Bulgaria to cap prices of reimbursed drugs from April 10

Patients in Bulgaria will have to switch to cheaper medication from April 1 if they want to get full reimbursement from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), doctors and drug makers warned.

Co-funding for newer and more expensive pharmaceuticals will dig deeper into patients pockets than now, they said.

The NHIF will set price caps for the medication to be used for the treatment of each particular condition. It will fully reimburse the drugs if their prices are within the limit. Otherwise, patients will have to pick up the rest of the tab, said executive director Albena Zlatareva.

The caps will be determined by a special commission according to specific criteria. She explained the method would encourage general practitioners to give mostly generic drugs in line with a recommendation by the World Health Organization during crisis.

Zlatareva argued the upcoming changes have been laid down in the Health Insurance Act and then in the 2010 National Framework Agreement, which outlines prices and volumes of reimbursed products.

However, the Bulgarian Doctors Union (BDU) protested the text was absent from the NFA.

BDU chairman Tsvetan Raichinov told Dnevnik the proposal existed in the rules the NHIF had planned to approve unilaterally if negotiations with the union had failed.

He cautioned the new measures would hinder doctors rights to prescribe the best treatment for each individual patient.

Restricting both the type and volume of pharmaceuticals would threaten patients, he explained, vowing he shall not sign the proposal as long as he chairs the BDU as patients would face heavy consequences.

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