FRANTIŠEK Valášek, head of the health insurer VšZP, suggested that the ongoing protest of pharmacists who shut down their shops or stopped buying new drugs was a move calculated to achieve more ends than officially announced.
Valášek said to the Slovak daily SME that the timing of the pharmacists' strike is coordinated so that they can get rid of old stocks of drugs ahead of the changes that will be introduced to the system as of November 15. Since then, a new categorization of drugs will take effect that will introduce new prices in the drug system.
The Health Ministry prepared the categorization scheme, which divides drugs into several groups and assigns each drug new pricing. According to the new system, some drugs will be completely free for the patient, covered by his or her health insurance, while others will be partially or fully covered by the patient.
Pharmacists said that the new prices would affect their businesses but insisted that the fact that their protest occurred at the time of the planned introduction of the new system was a coincidence.
Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
13. Nov 2003 at 10:17