The Slovenia Times

Pharmacy Chamber urges legislative changes to allow procurement of drugs

Health & Medicine

Ljubljana - The Pharmacy Chamber has called for immediate legislative changes to allow public-owned pharmacies adequate procurement of medicines, or else many will run out of drugs. For years, public pharmacies have faced great problems in procuring drugs through public tenders due to contradictory legislation, chamber president said on Thursday.

Pharmacy Chamber President Darja Potočnik Benčič told the press today the only reason patients had not yet come to feel these problems was that the pharmacies knowingly violated public procurement legislation.

The public procurement legislation stipulates that public pharmacies may only have one, the cheapest, supplier. However, this is impossible, because full-range wholesalers do not supply all the drugs at all times. Therefore, pharmacies need at least two suppliers of the same medicine.

Potočnik Benčič underlined the Pharmacy Chamber was not opposing the fact that public pharmacies are subject to public procurement. However, they have now found themselves in court offence proceedings.

Currently, 21 out of 24 public pharmacies are in offence proceedings over public procurement law violations.

"For me and Kraške Lekarne the court proceeding has ended. We have been punished for procuring drugs without the required procedures, fines have been issued," said director of Kraške Lekarne Ilirska Bistrica Ana Kobal.

"In line with the legislation, we have to stop procuring medicines immediately. Patients will be left without their drugs. This, of course, is unacceptable and those in charge in public pharmacies are aware of this. Therefore, they put patients first even though they risk getting punished," Potočnik Benčič said.

She noted that so far three attempts of the Pharmacy Chamber to buy drugs in bulk for over a dozen pharmacies had been annulled by the National Review Commission. There are no assurances that a fourth tender will be successful, she added.

The chamber believes that medicines procurement should not be hindered by public procurement legislation. Instead, field-specific legislation should apply.

The chamber has requested a meeting with Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan, said Potočnik Benčič, expressing regret that they have not yet met.

The Health Ministry responded, saying Bešič Loredan was scheduled to meet the head of the National Review Commission next week and would soon after meet with Pharmacy Chamber representatives.

The ministry said in a press release that it was aware of the significance and complexity of systemic problems in medicines procurement. The objective of meeting with the Review Commission and the Pharmacy Chamber is to launch active search for systemic solutions.


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