Bulgarian Cabinet Takes Shot at Lowering Legal Drugs Prices
The Bulgarian cabinet is starting negotiations with the pharmaceutical business to lower medication prices in Bulgaria, says Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov.
On Monday, Konstantinov will meet representatives of companies that sell medications on the Bulgarian market in attempt to reach agreement on lowering prices as much as 50%.
Speaking Saturday, in an interview for Darik radio, he informed he had already talked to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, about his idea for negotiations with the legal drugs business, and had obtained his full support.
Konstantinov, however, made it clear that the option to lower prices of medications by reducing Value Added Tax, VAT, is no longer on the table.
In the midst of the scandal with the prices that even lead to the dismissal of Deputy Health Minister, Gergana Pavlova, he launched the VAT idea. The latter did meet strong opposition from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, and from the Chair of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, Menda Stoyanova, from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.
The Health Minister told the Darik host that money from VAT is distributed for different policies, including healthcare, stressing he did not see any reasons to enter in conflict with Djankov.
Konstantinov labeled the reduction of VAT a step forward, and the negotiations – a leap forward, and said he preferred the second. He also confirmed that the price reduction could lead to some companies leaving the country's pharmaceutical market.
The Minister explained that maximum prices of medications in Bulgaria are determined one the basis of referential prices in 13 EU Member States, where the respective drug is the cheapest, but admitted it is possible for some drugs to be sold for less abroad because health funds are more successful in negotiating serious discounts from manufacturers.
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