Plan to phase out pharmacy fees
The National Agency for Medicines has proposed the gradual phasing out of pharmacy fees. The fees constitute the portion of turnover that pharmacies pay to the state from the sale of medicines.
According to the Agency, pharmacy fees could be cut by half from their present level. This would mean an average drop in the cost of medicines born by consumers and the sickness insurance system by 3.5%, representing some EUR 63 million a year, and a drop in VAT by about EUR 5 million a year.
The Agency’s findings suggest that some two thirds of pharmacies would benefit by the move. But the system of pharmacy fees could not be stopped at a stroke without disrupting the supply of medicines dispensed by municipal pharmacies.
The Agency proposes that the impact on availability of medicines and the business of pharmacies should be scrutinised before another cut in pharmacy fees takes place or they are cancelled altogether.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health commissioned the Agency to investigate the possibilities of ending the system of pharmacy fees.