This week the government revised the conditions of categorisation and put in place new rules that pharmaceutical companies must comply with in the promotion of their drugs.
The move met with a reaction from various foreign ambassadors who sent a common letter to PM Iveta Radicova, who feels the letter is just “blatant lobbying” on behalf of the pharmaceutical giants, as it is those countries with the strongest pharmaceutical businesses that signed the common statement against the revision.
The PM even went as far as to say that no other issue had exposed her to so much pressure as setting out the new drugs policy. In respect of the complaint from the ambassadors, she expressed her disgust at the lobbying, saying it went beyond political decency.
Radicova was also angry at the tone of the letter, which did not put forward any real arguments, instead saying only that Slovakia should accommodate the demands of the drugs producers. She plans to write to the countries in question to draw their attention to the issue.
Among other things, the new policy will mean pharmaceutical sales reps will be prohibited from visiting doctors during surgery hours, which is their main channel for establishing ‘good relationships’ with physicians.
Some pharmaceutical companies have also not been happy recently with the new categorisation, which is the classification of drugs into groups and setting the levels of reimbursement they receive from public health insurance.