Reported by Wei Yi-Chia from Taipei
The NHIA’s recent drug price cut has triggered a shortage of drug supply among community pharmacies. To deal with this emergency situation, the NHIA set up a single contact window to help sort out the shortage of drugs in community pharmacies and health clinics. The NHIA also requested drug companies to maintain a steady supply of all NHI-listed drugs; otherwise the reimbursement may be rejected. The NHIA will propose amending the law to authorize the NHIA to access drug companies’ inventory data, and will forward any cases concerning hoarding for better prices to the Fair Trade Commission for investigation.
Assistance in obtaining medicines
Shih Ru-Liang of the NHIA expressed that the NHIA held a meeting with a few drug logistics companies and distributors on the 14th to understand the current situation. The NHIA expressed that the recent drug shortage is just isolated cases. However, Chang Wen-Ching, a Standing Director of the Taipei Pharmacists Association, disagreed with the NHIA. She said that it is not about the number of items in shortage, it is about the number of people being affected.
Drug companies can appeal for price increase
Shih Ru-Liang pointed out that the NHIA will take the distributors’ opinions on board and will confirm the current shortage situation with local pharmacists associations. The NHIA has already created a contact point on its website with links to drug companies who are willing to assist. The NHIA will adopt civil groups’ suggestions and start monitoring the fluctuation of drug supply.
Kuo Chui-Wen of the NHIA expressed that drug companies can appeal for price increase if the new drug price becomes too low to cover the cost as a result of a price cut. This remedial measure is to protect the public’s medication rights. The appeal will be reviewed by the NHI Joint Meeting for Pharmaceutical Benefit and Reimbursement Scheme (PBRS).
【2014-05-15/ Liberty Times】