RIGA - From April 1 next year, the price difference between the cheapest and the most expensive drugs of equal therapeutic efficacy must not exceed 100 percent, the government decided today by approving amendments to the Procedures for the Reimbursement of Expenditures for the Acquisition of Medicinal Products and Medical Devices Intended for the Outpatient Medical Treatment.
The Health Ministry intends to implement various measures from April 1 next year to reduce the amount of patient co-payment for the purchase of reimbursable medicines. One of the measures is the limitation of the price difference between the cheapest and the most expensive drugs of equal therapeutic efficacy.
The Health Ministry explains that this price difference in Latvia sometimes even exceeds 300 percent. Meanwhile, the state-paid part is calculated from the price of the cheapest medication of equal therapeutic efficacy.
For example, in the case of cardiovascular diseases, the state pays 75 percent of the medications' cost, but in reality the state compensation is only at 44 percent of the average price of the drugs, as many patients use the most expensive drugs of equal therapeutic efficacy.
From October last year, the price of medicines that cost more than 100 percent more than the cheapest drugs of equal therapeutic efficacy had to be reduced by at 20 percent or to a level where the price would be 100 percent higher than the price of the cheapest drugs of equal therapeutic efficacy, while from October this year the price will have to be reduced by another 20 percent.
According to data from the National Health Service, no significant differences in patient co-payments were observed by end-2018, as a result, the ministry believes that the price reduction process must continue.