Czech health ministry cuts prices of reimbursed medicines

The Czech Republic's health ministry has cut ex-manufacturer prices of around 3,000
reimbursed medicines, both original and generic. National legislation regulates prices of
reimbursed medicines only, while all other pharmaceuticals are entitled to free pricing.
Price changes followed an amendment of Act 48/1997 on public health insurance after a
long dispute over the poor compliance of Czech legislation with the EC Transparency
Directive and the national Constitutional Court's requirement that pharmaceutical pricing
and reimbursement be more transparent.
The new prices are based either on the average ex-manufacturer prices in eight EU
reference states (Austria, Estonia, France, Hungary Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain),
set in accordance with the average of the product's three lowest prices in the EU, or refer
to the price of a therapeutically comparable medicine.
Last summer the health ministry reduced the number of products with regulated prices
from 8,600 to 4,100, and the state institute for drug control (SUKL) re-evaluates their exmanufacturer
prices. It determines the maximum ex-factory prices of reimbursed
medicines, and wholesale and retail mark-ups are fixed using a digressive scheme. This
approach allows maximum pharmacy prices for all reimbursed medicines to be
The institute told Scrip that it aims at re-evaluating drug prices rather than at capping
them. It is expected that prices of around three quarters of all medicines now in the reevaluation
procedure will be reduced and those of the remainder will be increased.
All price changes are now being made in transparent individual administrative
proceedings, and companies can appeal against pricing decisions and file their cases in
an administrative court, the SUKL said. All drug suppliers have equal opportunities on
the market, and their businesses are no longer affected by old prices which were set
under non-transparent and unpredictable rules, it added.
It is estimated that the price changes could save around CK1.1 billion ($81.6 million) for
patients and CZK1.6 billion for insurance companies. However, it is impossible to make
an accurate savings forecast because various evidence presented by manufacturers and
insurers during the individual administrative proceedings can have an unpredictable
effect on final drug prices, SUKL said.
The planned savings will be used to extend the list of reimbursed innovative medicines
and increase the number of fully reimbursed medicines (currently around 2,000) by
around one third. The number of partially reimbursed medicines, whose annual cost is
repaid by insurance companies to patients when they spend more than an established
maximum (currently CK5,000), might also be raised. SCRIP - World Pharmaceutical
News - www.scrippharma.com FILED 13 November 2008 COPYRIGHT Informa UK
Ltd 2008

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