At today’s parliamentary session the coalition managed to push through its revision to the Act on Medicinal Products, which will introduce widespread changes in the system of categorisation, reimbursement and the prescription of drugs.
Many MPs wanted the revision to be withdrawn from the agenda, but in the end the support of 83 MPs was more than enough to overthrow the 63 that voted against the legislation, which will take effect from December this year.
One of the major changes affects original molecule pharmaceutical companies, because under the new system doctors only have to prescribe the active substance of a drug and not a specific drug. This means that the cheaper generic drugs on the market will have a greater chance of being issued.
Even so, doctors can still prescribe specific drugs to patients, meaning the lobbying of pharmaceutical sales reps among doctors will continue, but the conditions for visiting doctors have also been changed. Sales reps will be prohibited from visiting doctors during surgery hours, which is their main channel for establishing ‘good relationships’ with physicians.
In June Prime Minister Iveta Radicova was disgusted by the lobbying from several ambassadors of countries with the strongest pharmaceutical businesses, who signed a common statement opposing the revision.