Georgia will introduce price ceiling for medicines and rehab for stroke victims
Cost of medicines in Georgia
The Georgian government has decided to finance rehabilitation of those suffering from traumatic brain injury and conditions related to stroke from the state budget. To this end, 11 million lari [about $4 million] will be added to the state program of nationwide health insurance.
The Ministry of Health also announced a price “ceiling” for medicines. In the event of violation, a warning will be issued; continued violation will result in fines.
Rehabilitation after stroke and injuries
Each year there are about 6,000 cases in Georgia where rehabilitation is required after a stroke and craniocerebral injuries, Health Minister Zurab Azarashvili said. The new program includes a full course of rehabilitation.
“It is important to note that we are also working on prevention, so that ambulance teams respond as quickly as possible to cases of stroke and deliver patients to specialized clinics where they will receive prompt assistance,” the minister said.
Prices for medicines
Starting January 2023 price caps will apply to chronic and oncology medicines, and from the second quarter to any other prescription drugs, and by the end of 2023 to everyone.
“Sanctions for violations include a warning for the first incident. In the event of repeated violation, the fine will be from 5,000 to 45,000 lari [about $2,000-$15,000] for retail pharmacies, distributors and wholesalers,” the minister said.
According to preliminary calculations by the government, the establishment of a price ceiling will reduce the cost of medicines by an average of 40%.
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The prices for medicines in Georgia, among the most expensive in the region, have been discussed in society for a long time. It is a huge burden on the population, and “the Ministry of Health is actively working to fix the problem,” former Health Minister Yekaterina Tikaradze said in November 2021.
In the same 2021, the Competition Agency published a report that the high cost of drugs is due to a lack of consumer awareness, as consumers do not have information about the existence of relatively cheap generic substitute drugs.
“Generic drugs” are medicines marketed under international names that are said to have the same mechanism of action as medicines marketed under other names patented by pharmaceutical companies. The difference is only in price: “generics” are cheaper and therefore more accessible to the general public.
The agency determined by comparative analysis that by replacing brand-name drugs with generic drugs patients could save an average of 16 million lari [about $5 million] in 2016-2020.
Cost of medicines in Georgia