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Grindeks: medicines to become more expensive because of new European requirements

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDue to the adoption of a verification system to check safety of medicines, medicines are expected to become more expensive, said Juris Bundulis, board chairman of Grindeks.

He says adoption of a verification system will require significant investments from medicine producers. With that, price rise for medicines is unavoidable. «We have to consider how this will affect patients, because medicines will most definitely become more expensive. For example, Grindeks has to invest several million euros to implement serialization requirements. Equipment manufacturers are happy – their business will definitely bloom,» said Bundulis.

At the same time, he says counterfeit medicines are not distributed by legal pharmacies, which are subject to the new system. The internet is used to distribute those products. This is why it is important to explain to patients that buying medicines on the internet comes with risk of purchased medicines having a detrimental effect on their health.

On top of that, it is nearly impossible to identify counterfeit medicines distributors on the internet. If patients purchase low-quality medicines in pharmacies, it is clear who suppliers and distributors are. Additionally, they have to compensate damages caused by their medicines. «Legislation and patients’ rights are very clear and guaranteed,» said Bundulis.

Grindeks board chairman also said it is wrong for the current regulation to cover many companies on which the planned verification system will not apply.

«This is completely wrong to make it compulsory for all only to turn around and tell some that rules will not apply to them. We have invested enormous amounts of money. We want to understand and follow how medicines are distributed to patients. One option is pharmacies – which have to comply with verification requirements. The second is family physician practice, which is not subject to requirements. With that, we have to ask if those exceptions were added only to divert the carefully monitored flow of medicines towards a less-supervised sector. If we control only one-third of the three thousand units of medicines issued to patients, there is something wrong. This is not good practice and it represents a good signal for honest players in the industry. No one has provided a clear explanation as to why this is being done,» said Bundulis.

He also notes that the argument that only 1% of the entire medicines turnover goes through cases of exception, which is unacceptable. «If there is a hole in market supervision, this 1% can quickly grow into 10%. For example, whenever discussions touched on the topic of parallel import, did anyone actually expected it to become a billions-worth business? No! What does this mean for planning and patients? The current situation is that as long as the price different for medicines between countries A and B is more than 3%-5%, goods start moving,» says the board chairman of Grindeks.

He also explains that prices on medicines can differ significantly between countries. This is because costs differ based on production output. «In a single case it could be a masterpiece, but 100,000 packages mean industrial level production. This means it is wrong to criticize manufacturers for the fact that prices differ from country to country. If we all manufactured the same product for the entire world, prices would equalize. This is not how things are, however,» said Bundulis.

From 9 February 2019 onward, a new regulation regarding medicine verification will be in force in Europe. This new regulation provides for adding unique code to label medicine packages. Before medicine is provided to patients, pharmacies and healthcare institutions will have to verify prescribed medicines.


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