In response to recently surfaced information regarding Latvian Healthcare Ministry’s plans to divide State Agency of Medicines between Health Inspection and the ministry, Latvian Generic Medicines Association is deeply surprised about the way this has been planned and reasons behind this decision.
LPMA is strictly against HM’s arguments in regard to existing registration restrictions of generic medicines, which is used as one of the reasons for the reorganization of State Agency of Medicines.
«We would like to note that the number of generic medicines in Latvia has declined not because of the agency’s action or inaction, but because of HM’s developed and realized medicines policy.
This policy states that medicine manufacturers have no interest in entering Latvia’s market, where the system that governs compensation of medicine procurement cost is created based on the so-called tended system with a very low base price threshold and limited number of medicines paid for by the state. This system, which was adopted following HM’s initiative during the crisis, cannot function reliably for a long time and is not appropriate for the current state of the market. This is further proven by experience of other countries and Latvia’s situation. Latvia’s small market, large competition and low prices do not stimulate the appearance of new manufacturers and new medicines», as mentioned by the association in its announcement to the media.
«Yes, manufacturers are not happy with high registration and storage fees in Latvia. However, as it is known, State Agency of Medicines was not the one to establish tariffs. It was Latvian Healthcare Ministry that developed those fees,» – says the association, adding: «Medicine manufacturers had protested multiple times against this practice. They wrote letters to HM, discussed the topic with the ministry’s representatives and expressed their opinion on mass media. HM’s reply to these protests was only that this is the ministry’s policy».
Whether or not SAM is a budget institution and whether or not it should be sustained using manufacturers’ fees is a matter for HM to discuss. The opinion of medicine manufacturers is that if the state budget has the money to sustain the agency’s functions, it is definitely welcome, as mentioned in the statement.
«In spite of HM’s policy in the field of pharmaceuticals, specifically in regard to generic medicines, we can conclude that their consumption in 2014 formed 45% of consumption of all types of medicines in the country in monetary value and 75% based on the number of sold packages is not lower than the average consumption of these medicines in the EU. Of course, manufacturers of generic medicines and Latvian residents would like a more rapid increase of generic medicines, but this would only be possible if HM realizes a policy that can sustain that. Unfortunately, the ministry’s behaviour until now has not been all that encouraging. Reality is less promising. Low prices in Latvia only serve to increase the number of medicines that leave the country every year. HM’s inaction to limit this process forces us to question HM’s intentions and level of care toward Latvia’s residents. Unfortunately, the ministry’s behaviour currently suggests that it is far more interested in supporting specific entrepreneurs in order to profit. Even the fact that HM’s changes are argumented with assumptions and facts unknown to the ministry raise serious concerns about the true goals behind the reorganization plans,» – says the association.