Pharmaceutical News
Drugs cheaper than candy! Taiwan People’s Party caucus urges authorities to reexamine root causes of structural imbalance in drug reimbursement pricing

The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) caucus on April 18 held a news conference attributing ongoing drug shortages to National Health Insurance’s (NHI) drug reimbursement scheme, which has suppressed prices and dampened manufacturers’ willingness to supply Taiwan. The TPP caucus urged the government to address the structural imbalance and make sound adjustments to drug reimbursement pricing.

TPP Legislator Chen Wan-hui said that perennially low NHI drug reimbursement pricing has limited the array of treatment options available to clinicians, as they have no choice but to prescribe generic drugs due to shortages of originator drugs. TPP spokesperson Christina Yang said that the government’s new center handling drug shortage reports is not an innovative solution, and only reflects the poor horizontal communication between departments. The center needs to accelerate the process of filling demand for chronic disease drugs and life-saving drugs to enable timely treatment options for patients.

Spokesperson Yang also said that the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act stipulates that drug manufacturers must provide notice of potential shortages six months ahead of time or face penalties. However, as there are no distinctions between the length duration of drug shortages, even fines as high as NT$300,000 will do little in preventing shortages, and the drug shortage reporting center will not help resolve the root causes of the issue.

[2023-4-18/Liberty Times]