Ac­ces­si­bil­ity to new and ef­fec­tive medicine in Latvia is the poor­est in Europe

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In terms of ac­ces­si­bil­ity and com­pen­sa­tion of new and ef­fec­tive medicine, Latvia is on the last place among EU mem­ber states, ac­cord­ing to Pa­tients W.A.I.T. In­di­ca­tor pub­lished by Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries and As­so­ci­a­tions at the end of April.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, pa­tients’ ac­ces­si­bil­ity and state com­pen­sa­tion for new medicine in Europe varies from coun­try to coun­try. It is the high­est in West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries and the low­est in Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean coun­tries. EFPIA study shows that Latvia com­pen­sates only 9 of 112 new types of medicine ap­proved by the Euro­pean Medicines Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The study puts Latvia on the last place among other 26 Euro­pean coun­tries. For most EU mem­ber states, the de­ci­sion of EMA is a point of ref­er­ence to in­clude new types of medicine to their state com­pen­sated medicines sys­tem. Un­for­tu­nately, it is not the same for Latvia. This sit­u­a­tion shows that Latvia have an in­suf­fi­cient bud­get for com­pen­sa­tion of medicines. Very rarely do Lat­vian of­fi­cials take into ac­count ther­a­peu­tic ef­fi­cacy cri­te­ria.

The best ac­ces­si­bil­ity of new medicines in Europe is found in Austria, Ger­many, Den­mark and UK. In gen­eral, pa­tients have ac­cess to 97 new state-com­pen­sated medicines. Bet­ter ac­ces­si­bil­ity to mod­ern medicines is also found in Latvia’s neigh­bour­ing coun­tries: Lithua­nia com­pen­sates 30 new medicines and Es­to­nia com­pen­sates 19. More ef­fec­tive ther­apy is also pro­vided in small coun­tries like Slove­nia and Czech Repub­lic, where the num­ber of state-com­pen­sated medicines in each is 55 and 44. Bul­garia also has bet­ter sit­u­a­tion with state-com­pen­sated medicines – 45 types. «This data also points to a cer­tain neg­a­tive trend – Latvia falls more and more be­hind other Euro­pean coun­tries in terms of se­cur­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity to new medicines for its res­i­dents. It is be­hind not only rich coun­tries but also coun­tries with sim­i­lar economies to its own and even less-de­vel­oped coun­tries,» says In­ter­na­tional Re­search Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Anda Blum­berga.

«Of course, it is pos­si­ble to ig­nore ad­vance­ments in medicine and just keep us­ing medicines cre­ated 20 or more years ago, which is some­thing Latvia ac­tively does. But the fight with se­ri­ous dis­eases is only pos­si­ble with new and more ef­fec­tive medicines,» she notes. Blum­berga adds: «On top of that, it is def­i­nitely worth tak­ing into ac­count that be­fore com­menc­ing com­pen­sa­tion of afore­men­tioned medicines, the eco­nomic ef­fect from it was care­fully an­a­lysed by eco­nomic ex­perts. The enor­mous bud­get deficit for medicines ba­si­cally makes new medicines in­ac­ces­si­ble for Lat­vian res­i­dents. This is a ma­jor loss for pa­tients, the state and so­ci­ety in gen­eral.»


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