Office set up for reference pricing of medical devices

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Ljubljana – The government on Thursday adopted a regulation establishing an office to maintain a central register of prices of medical devices and equipment in a bid to reduce procurement prices and reduce the cost on public finances.

A press release issued after the correspondence session says the new office will provide information, organisational, expert and other support to the government to achieve optimal prices of public procurement in healthcare.

The office is to provide for transparency of procurement and is to help bring market competition practices in Slovenia faster on a par with standards in comparable EU countries.

The new office comes after parliament passed amendments to the public procurement act in January to regulate the prices of medical supplies and equipment under a system of reference prices comparable with those in other EU countries.

According to the newspaper Finance, the office is to get EUR 650,000 in budget funds this year and EUR 800,000 in 2023, of which for salaries EUR 340,000 this year and EUR 510,000 in 2023, for material costs EUR 160,000 each year and investment EUR 150,000 this year and EUR 130,000 the next.

The office’s director will be appointed by the government and will be answerable to the secretary general of the government, the government said in the press release.

The office’s job will be to monitor and analyse prices of medical devices and equipment in comparable EU countries; put in place and manage a portal of reference prices; draw up and implement projects, documents and policies; coordinate and prepare price policy measures of health institutions at the national level; and cooperate with akin institutions in the EU.

Under the amended public procurement act, the office will have to publish and update at least every six months reference prices for medical devices and equipment.

Hospitals and community health centres will need to apply the reference price as a benchmark in public contracting.

If a bid submitted in a public call is more than 10% above the reference price, the contracting authority will be able to discard it and buy the product through negotiation procedure without prior publication anywhere in the EU single market.

The contracting authority would be able to do the same if finding the product is available in the Slovenian market cheaper than it is paying to its selected supplier and if the latter does not reduce the price in 30 days.