Bulgarian Pharmacists Stage Nationwide Protest

Politics | January 8, 2008, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Pharmacists Stage Nationwide Protest Pharmacies across Bulgaria closed for an hour, protesting against the government's cut of the profit margin for selling medicines. Photo by Nadya Kotseva (Sofia Photo Agency)

Bulgarian pharmacists protest Tuesday over the decision of the cabinet to cut the profit margin that pharmacies are allowed to charge for selling medicines.

Pharmacies across the country will close for an hour at noon, backed by the pharmacists union, which declares that the government's measure would drastically cut revenues and force many out of business.

The pharmacists demand that the cabinet keeps the former profit margin ceiling of 29% of the wholesale price, which has been cut in half.

"The law is categorical and imperative, giving the cabinet the right and the duty to regulate the prices," Bulgarian healthcare minister Radoslav Gaydarski said at a round table discussion on the issue.

The ministry also rejected allegations of discrepancies between the new regulations and the annual framework agreement of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), which sets out the costs of all medical services and the degree to which the fund covers the cost of various medicines.

Minister Gaydarski did admit, however, that removing value added tax on medicines would be the best move to cut end-user prices.
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