On December 30, 2019, the Uzbek President signed a decree introducing reform measures to upgrade the healthcare system. The primary measure introduced by the decree is a reference pricing system for Uzbek and foreign medicines. This system establishes a common reimbursement level or reference price for a group of interchangeable medicines, i.e. the reference group. The pricing system will be implemented in three phases.
By March 1, 2020, the Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry under the Uzbek Ministry of Health should approve a selection of at least 10 reference countries belonging to the high, above average and below average per capita income groups. The Agency should also approve a procedure according to which medicine registration certificate holders or their authorized representatives will submit, to the Agency, information about retail prices of a certain drug in its country of origin, in reference countries and in Uzbekistan. This refers to medicines produced by the same manufacturer and having the same active substance, dosage form, number of units in the package, concentration, volume and packaging.
By May 1, 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers should present a draft law to the Legislative Chamber of the Supreme Assembly introducing administrative and criminal liability for violating the legal requirement to prescribe medicines using international nonproprietary names. The draft law should also introduce amendments to the Law on Health Protection in order to prohibit medical workers from receiving financial rewards or any other incentives from pharmaceutical organizations and pharmacies for the prescription and sale of certain medicines.
By July 1, 2020, the Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry should register marginal costs for each brand-name pharmaceutical product included in the List of Essential Drugs, and establish price limits above which foreign medicines cannot be imported into Uzbekistan and above which domestic medicines cannot be offered for sale by local manufacturers.
By July 1, 2020, the Ministry of Health should also approve:
- Legislation regulating the procedure for prescribing medicines using international nonproprietary names, including the legal liability of medical personnel for the violation of this procedure;
- Regulation on the interchangeability of medicines for medical use;
- The procedure for organizing secret test purchases, to be carried out by the Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Consumer Protection Agency under the Uzbek Antimonopoly Committee.
The Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry will be responsible for monitoring and analyzing the reference pricing system, alone and with the assistance of consumer rights’ protection organizations. The Agency will also create and maintain an automated information system on its official website presenting information on organizations engaged in pharmaceutical activities, registered and certified pharmaceutical products, as well as registered marginal costs for brand-name pharmaceuticals and their wholesale and retail prices.