Life in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is further complicated by the increase in the prices of basic foodstuffs, as well as the increase in the price of medicines. The pandemic has necessitated higher demand, especially for dietary supplements and vitamins. Pharmacists justify price increases with higher purchase prices. The biggest blow is suffered by pensioners who are forced to buy medicines regardless of their price.
The Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices of BiH performs the calculation of the maximum wholesale prices of medicines in BiH on the basis of the Rulebook on the manner of price control. The amount of the retail margin is established by the entity ministries that are responsible for health affairs. The control of prices of medicines is performed by the pharmaceutical inspector of the Agency and no discrepancies have been found so far. Why are medicines cheaper in some neighboring countries?
“The difference in the price of the medicine that we all pay, as patients and citizens, is affected by: lower retail margin (in Serbia 12 percent compared to BiH 20 to 25 percent), and lower VAT rate (in Serbia 10 percent compared to BiH 17 percent), ” they said from Agency for Medicines.
Based on their business principles, health insurance funds can contract and recognize lower prices than those determined by the regulations.
”As an example of the price difference, we took the medicine Plavix, which is used in cardiovascular diseases. This medicine in Serbia costs around 10 marks, while the price of the same product in BiH is around 25 marks. The price also depends on the agreement between the manufacturer and the state, ” noted Zdravka Gvozdjar, a pharmacist and director of a pharmacy in Sarajevo.
Every year, the entity ministries of health adopt lists of medicines, on which there is a determined price. There was a disruption in the prices of over-the-counter medicines after the arrival of the pandemic. Also, one of the reasons for the high prices is the lack of stocks at domestic pharmacies, the interlocutor added.
“We really don’t know what is happening with the manufacturers. We react to the price we get, add margin and VAT. I think the address is that VAT. None of the surrounding countries has a VAT on medicines higher than 10 percent, ” told Zdravka Gvozdjar.
“It is not a matter of free assessment. We have very strict control in the pharmacy sector since for 0.01 pfennigs the inspection services set rigorous penalties, ” said Zahida Binakaj, President of the Chamber of Masters of Pharmacy of the Federation of BiH (FBiH).
Factories working for the Serbian market have eminent companies in the territory of former Yugoslavia, so they control prices with their production.
Unlike Serbia, which produces most of the medicines that meet the needs of the market by taking over the licenses, BiH satisfies only 25 percent of the required production of medicines. This is an opportunity for all those companies that export their medicines in BiH to influence the higher prices of medicines on our market, BHRT writes.