Pharmaceutical News
NHI is to stop reimbursing 897 repacked drugs

Reported by Wei Yi-Chia from Taipei

The NHIA announced that from next January, 897 items of repacked drugs will not be reimbursed by the NHI. Hospitals have to prescribe medicines in their original packaging in order to qualify for NHI payments.  This new regulation affects the departments of dermatology, ENT, paediatric and family medicine most. 

Teng Xi-Hua, the spokesperson of the NHI Supervision Alliance, expressed that dermatology clinics will be hit hard by this new regulation as their profits will shrink.  For example, under the new regulation, the cost of a tin of 5g cream will increase from NT$2 to NT$10.  Teng expressed her worries that some clinics may try to sell their stock of bulk drugs by lying to patients that the bulk drugs are more effective. 

Teng Xi-Hua pointed out that the NHIA should ban bulk drugs all together if they really consider bulk drugs are inferior.  The NHIA should not just impose a regulation with a loophole in it. 

As for cough syrup, the NHIA imposed an incentive measure five years ago to encourage the use of paediatric doses in original packaging.  This incentive measure has proved effective. 

Dai Xue-Yung of the MOHW said frankly that the authority is not able to ban doctors from requesting pharmacists to dispense drugs to patients pursuant to the Guidelines on Drug Dispensing.  Under this circumstance, repacked drugs remain legal. 

According to the NHIA’s data, 897 items of repacked drugs will be affected by the new regulation.  In total, they cost the NHI NT$89 million a year. 

【2014-09-24/ China Times】