Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Drug distributor to continue supplying pharmacies

The largest private distributor of drugs and medical supplies in Slovakia, Fides, halted imports of foreign drugs as of June 1 after cabinet slapped a 7% surcharge on most imports. However, Fides will continue to distribute drugs not affected by the surcharge, as well as drugs for which it has already paid import duty, the company said in a statement on June 7.

"Fides does not think patients are to blame for the implementation of the import surcharge. Thus, we will continue to supply pharmacies," the statement said. "Our company will restart supplies of imported drugs hit by the import surcharge after the cabinet finds a solution that will enable the effective import of drugs. Fides will consult its steps with the Health Ministry so as to prevent a total collapse in drug distribution."

In late May, the government approved raising the import surcharge from zero to seven percent as of June 1 as part of a package of austerity measures designed to bring the country's trade and fiscal deficits under control. The import surcharge applies to approximately 75% of Slovak imports, and originally included drugs and medical materials.

Fides officials complained of being blacklisted by the Association of Drug Distributors (ADL), who accused the firm of breaking ranks. The ADL threatened on June 7 that it would stop delivering drugs to all pharmacies from June 8 to 11 unless cabinet approved a compensation package for drugs importers, and said it would extend the ban until June 18 if no compensation was forthcoming by the end of the week.

This latest health care crisis follows on the heels of fears that the sector would collapse from low funding in 1999. Slovakia plans to allocate 44.5 billion crowns, or 6.2% of GDP, for health care this year. This sum represents 8,250 crowns per capita, which is 48% less than in the neighboring Czech Republic. The annual consumption of drugs in western European countries per capita is $220, while in Slovakia it is only $57 USD.

The Association of Pharmaceutical Companies says that there is no more room for savings within the sector without seriously affecting the quality of provided medical services.

Top stories

EU roaming fees to end on June 15 – in theory

Slovak customers still waiting to find out how mobile operators will implement change.

Archaeologist pieces together early history of what is now western Slovakia Photo

For an archaeologist, the most important thing is his most recent rare discovery, says Július Vavák.

Students visited Svätý Jur as part of their European Wanderer project

How to sell Slovak books to English readers

Slovak literature makes it to the big bookstores of London, but it is unlikely to become a bestseller yet.

On Wednesday, Slovak literature will be presented in one of the biggest bookstores in London. Among the new books translated into English is also the anthology of current Slovak prose selected and translated by Magdalena Mullek and Júlia Sherwood.

General Prosecutor filed a motion for the dissolution of ĽSNS

The Slovak Supreme Court received a motion to dissolve the extreme right ĽSNS party founded and led by Marian Kotleba.

Jaromír Čižnár