Reported by Lin Yi-Hui from Taipei
The NHIA is going to introduce a new drug pricing scheme from July 1 by giving drugs identical in ingredients and specifications the same reimbursement price. Considering that the implementation of the PIC/S GMP is still incomplete, Legislator Su Ching-Chuan (KMT) expressed his worry that the new pricing scheme could have a serious impact on the public’s medication rights. Su suggested that drugs failing to meet the PIC/S GMP criteria should be excluded from the new drug pricing scheme.
Su Ching-Chuan expressed that the implementation of the new pricing scheme is seemingly to raise the reimbursement prices for drugs without proper quality certifications. It will have a huge impact on the drug market. He took Panadol for example, saying that the original drug has passed the DMF assessment; therefore, it outperforms the generics manufactured by local PIC/S GMP manufacturers. However, under the new pricing scheme, drugs with different treatment effects will be reimbursed at the same price, said Su Ching-Chuan.
In a forum organized by the China Time last week, many experts expressed their concerns over the impact of the new pricing scheme.
Chen Zhou-Zi of the KFSYSCC pointed out that numerous rounds of drug price cuts have proved ineffective in controlling the growth of the overall drug expenditure. The fundamental problem is that hospitals increase volumes to cover up the financial loss from drug price cuts. This practice has a direct impact on drug quality. That’s why patients now have to take more medicines but the effect is not satisfactory.
The authority claimed that the new pricing scheme will effectively reduce the NHI drug expenditure as it encourages the use of generics.
Yet, according to the data from the NHIA, over two-third of the 3000 items subject to the new pricing scheme do not have PIC/S certificates. It is incomprehensible that the government would be willing to spend NT$700 million on drugs with questionable quality.
Su Ching-Chuan stressed that, as a doctor with years of clinical experiences, he reckoned that the TFDA has the total responsibility to control and ensure the quality of drugs. In order to improve healthcare quality, Su suggested implementing balance billing on drugs so that patients are able to access original drugs. He also suggested that drugs without PIC/S certificates should be excluded from the new pricing scheme.
【2014-5-08/ China Times】