Pharmaceutical News
NHI plans to review the reimbursement of over 800 instruction drugs

The proposed scope of the NHI global budget, resource allocation and the financial balance plan were high on the agenda of the NHI Board Meeting held on the 26th.  Chou Wan-Shu, the Executive Secretary of the NHIA, stated that the estimated range of growth for next year’s global budget is between 1.053% and 4%.   Based on this estimate, the NHIA could have 1.01-1.41 months of reserve, which is above the 1 month statutory requirement.  Therefore, Chou indicated that the NHIA may not raise the premium next year.

The Board also discussed the strategies for controlling drug fees.  According to Tsai Shu-Ling, the Deputy Director of the NHIA, the NHIA is going to conduct a full review of all NHI-reimbursed instruction drugs and to cut down on unnecessary drug reimbursements.

Tsai stated that currently, the annual drug fees are about NT$23 billion, including NT$2 billion on instruction drugs that are not reimbursed in most countries.  The NHIA is going to review its reimbursement policies and discuss about the necessity of reimbursing instruction drugs.  The NHIA will discuss with the TFDA about the classification and certifications of prescription drugs and instruction drugs with a view to constructing a list of necessary drug items and to reduce unnecessary reimbursements.

The NHI raised the premium rate in 2021.   Hsueh Jui-yuan, the MOHW Minister, has repeatedly stated publicly that the authority will try not to raise the NHI premium next year.  Chou Wan-Chu stated that based on the estimated growth of next year’s NHI global budget, the NHIA could have 1.01-1.41 months of reserve.  Hence, there is no urgency to raise the NHI premium according to the law.

However, Chou pointed out that this estimation is based on the average spending of the past 4 years, rather than on the spending in the previous year, which could mean the estimate is too low.  She added that the MOHW and the Executive Yuan have the final say on whether there should be a premium increase; and therefore, at present, nothing has been concluded yet.

【2023-04-27 / United Daily】