Pressure Piles on Bulgaria's Sopharma over Alleged Monopoly

Business | February 20, 2012, Monday // 13:57
Bulgaria: Pressure Piles on Bulgaria's Sopharma over Alleged Monopoly Sopharma owner Ognyan Donev (pictured) monopolized the Bulgarian pharmaceutical market while he was a member of the supervising medicines authority, which is unethical and illegal even in Africa, New Europe wrote earlier this month. Photo by SPA

Bulgaria's parliamentary health commission is about to launch a probe into local pharmaceutical company Sopharma over suspicions of monopoly, its head announced.

The move came following an investigation by TV 7 channel, which showed that Sopharma sells its medicines to Bulgarian patients and hospitals at higher prices than in Turkey or Serbia.

A package of ampoules for severe allergy, for example, costs about BGN 70 in Bulgaria, while its price in Turkey is just BGN 25. A medicine for high blood pressure is sold at BGN 7 in Serbia, while in Bulgaria the price is three times higher.

The investigation also showed that the pharmaceutical boss, who recently turned into a media mogul too, will lose about half a billion levs if health authorities decide to put their house in order.

"I am very surprised by the big difference in prices," Desislava Atanasova, head of the parliamentary health commission, commented.

Earlier this month it emerged that the European Commission is about to launch an investigation into Bulgaria's pharmaceutical company Sopharma over suspicions of monopoly as unethical as in an African country.

Sopharma, controlled by Ognyan Donev, who until a year ago was a member of the supervisory board of the State Authority National Health Insurance Fund, has managed to supply more than 70% of the medicines required by (state) hospitals and more than 50% of prescribed medicines, according to media reports.

The other key person in the scheme is believed to be the current deputy health minister of Bulgaria, Gergana Pavlova, a former high-ranking employee of Sopharma.

According to a New Europe publication the European Commission is already in Bulgaria, investigating the case 'sur place'.

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Tags: Gergana Pavlova, Ognyan Donev, Sopharma, European Commission
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