Parliament adopted a new law on 25 December 2017, which has as one of its objectives the promotion of the prescription of cheaper drugs.
Prescription drugs are classified by price: they can be “cheap medicines” or “cheapest medicines”, based on different criteria (some of the medicines in the second category are also listed in the first category). Doctors must prescribe a certain minimum percentage of “cheap” medicines. This percentage varies according to the doctor’s specialty.
Previously, prescription drugs were categorized according to “identical” packing sizes; from 1 January 2018, however, classification is based on “similar” sizes. Medicine prescribers as well as patients can verify via a web application whether a medicine belongs to the “cheap” or “cheapest” medicines category.
The new law also introduces a limit on the reimbursement of a medicine which has a generic counterpart. The Government’s aim is to increase price competition between pharmaceutical companies selling similar drugs and to make budget savings. This measure not only benefits health insurance but also patients, since they will pay less for their medicines.
The new requirements entered into force on 1 January 2018.