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Pharmacy owners: compensated medicines should be supplied with reserves

Photo: pixabay.com
Medicine manufacturers should supply state compensated medicines with a small reserve, says chairman of Pharmacy Owners Association Jānis Lībķens.

According to him, if manufacturers start in procurements to supply compensated medicines on list of compensated medicines, they should supply them with a small reserve in order to secure some planning room in case the situation changes.

When asked what impedes formation of reserves now, Lībķens said concerns are associated with the fact if too much medicines are supplied, wholesale traders usually consider exporting them to markets where it is possible to sell for higher prices. «If the manufacturer delivers medicines to Latvia at a lower price and the wholesale trader decides to re-sell the goods in Germany, manufacturers suffer losses,» says Lībķens.

At the same time, he explains that there is also parallel import – when medicines are carried to the country for cheaper prices. Manufacturers have begun searching for different solutions, including reducing prices.

Lībķens informs that the State Agency of Medicines has commenced talks with wholesale traders to make sure all information regarding accessibility of medicines is clear and accessible. «We believe it will become clear that everything is fine for the most part, but there are certain positions in which products are not supplied on time. This is where the problem surfaces – when people are unable to receive medicines when they need,» says the association’s head.

As for accessibility of medicines, Lībķens outlined another problem – medicines are divided among pharmacies that have always had demand for them. «For example, specific medicines in Latvia are used by two patients – one in Riga and one in Daugavpils. Respectively, one package is sent to Riga and one to Daugavpils. But people are mobile, and the patient in Daugavpils decides to move to Liepaja. Once there, he goes to a pharmacy with his prescription. But he can’t get his prescribed medicine because shipments have already been distributed to other pharmacies. So the question then is – what should we do? Tell the person that everything is fine and that the medicine is on its way to Daugavpils? This is not normal, and no one is offering any solutions,» says Lībķens.

He says there should be a mechanism to liven up manufacturers to make sure deliveries in the event of emergencies are performed more quickly. Lībķens says wholesale traders are bound to a condition that all required medicines are to be delivered to pharmacies within 24 hours, whereas manufacturers are not bound by this requirement. Manufacturers only have to provide confirmation that an indicative amount of medicines will be supplied within a year. Additionally, it is impossible to force manufacturers to react quickly, he said.

He believes there has to be a regulation that would force manufacturers to react more quickly and be more flexible.

At the same time, Lībķens says manufacturers are against forced influence mechanisms. «A classic response is that whenever someone forces them to do something, they simply leave the market. I can understand state institutions in this regard. It is better to have unregulated medicine supplies than none at all. But I think manufacturers’ departure from the market is not entirely believable,» says the head of the head of Pharmacy Owners Association.


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