The Slovenia Times

Bulk buy of medicines falls through a third time

Health & Medicine

Ljubljana - The National Review Commission has fully annulled a call to procure prescription drugs that was published in March by the Slovenian Pharmacy Chamber on behalf of 14 pharmacies. It is the third such bulk buy of medicines that has been annulled.

A review was requested by the Competition Protection Agency (AVK) as an advocate of public interest, one of the charges against the Pharmacy Chamber being infringements of the principles of competition between bidders and the principles of economics, efficiency and effectiveness.

The AVK argued that only a limited number of bidders or major existing pharmaceutical wholesalers would be able to bid because only they can offer the whole range of medicines required and meet the demand to supply to geographically dispersed pharmacies nation-wide.

If the public procurement was split into individual medicinal products, it would allow participation by bidders who are not in a position to offer all the medicinal products in a given bundle, and if it was split between pharmacies it would allow participation by those who cannot provide a nationwide supply, the AVK argued.

The Pharmacy Chamber responded that splitting the order by types of medicine would pose an impossible administrative burden and splitting it by individual contracting parties would lead to varying valid prices of medicines. Given some 3,000 medicines on the market, splitting the procurement in such a way would mean splitting it into 3,000 parts or 6,000 if two suppliers were to be secured for each drug.

The Review Commission acknowledged both arguments but said it was impossible to demand of the contracting parties to divide the subject of procurement into an unfathomable number of small sections as such a dispersal would be uneconomical and inefficient.

However, the commission established violation because the Pharmacy Chamber failed to divide the subject of procurement to smaller sections by individual pharmacies.

The Pharmacy Chamber and pharmacies have been complaining about the regulatory framework for the procurement of medicines for a while and the chamber described the previous annulment of the bulk buy procedure in October 2021 as "unacceptable and illogical".


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