Speculation that Hungary will slash drug reimbursement

Home/Policies & Legislation | Posted 04/02/2011 post-comment0 Post your comment

Hungary will next month announce economic reforms and there are fears that they could include cuts of about 30% to the national drug reimbursement bill. The size of this proposed figure implies massive changes in the Hungarian drug market.


Mr Gyorgy Matolcsy, the Minister for National Economy in the government elected in April 2010, has said that savings of as much as US$490 million (Euros 357 million, around 30%) are possible to spending on drugs by the national health insurance fund, whose drugs bill was over US$1.7 billion (Euros 1.2 billion) in 2010, 5% more than planned for the year.

The industry has reacted sharply. Analysts at IHS Global Insight point out that “a fairly significant number” of innovative drugs are reimbursed in Hungary, and the possibility that reimbursement of these could be either reduced or cut completely would represent “a very negative prospect” for pharmaceutical companies operating in the country.

Plans to favour increased prescription of cheaper drugs have already been announced, and considerable room exists for increased generic penetration on the Hungarian market. However encouraging this by reducing payments for patented drugs so abruptly is causing much protest. Dr Eszter Sinkó of the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, is quoted in a local newspaper as saying that there may be negative consequences for the health of Hungarians, as well as reduced turnover for pharmaceutical companies.

There is already a perception in Hungary that too much of the cost of reimbursed medicines is covered from out-of-pocket payments. Local opponents argue that if some drugs become inaccessible to certain patients this would merely increase the burden on the Hungarian public purse. The consequence of a lack of access to medicines would be more sick leaves for employees, and by implication, a greater burden on the hospital or primary-care system.

The new strategy has yet to be unveiled, so perhaps it will not be as harsh as feared.

Source: Reuters, IHS Global Insight, PharmaTimes.

comment icon Comments (0)
Post your comment
Related content
Strategic plans of ANVISA and COFEPRIS to advance health regulation
11 AA010165
Home/Policies & Legislation Posted 11/03/2024
Panama enacts new bill to guarantees the supply of medicines
53 MD002445
Home/Policies & Legislation Posted 29/02/2024
Most viewed articles
About GaBI
Home/About GaBI Posted 06/08/2009
EU guidelines for biosimilars
EMA logo 1 V13C15
Home/Guidelines Posted 08/10/2010