The Cyprus government and the country's drugmakers are at loggerheads over new pricing policies for medicines.
According to a report in the Cyprus Mail newspaper, the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies is claiming that its views have not been given serious consideration by the country's health ministry. The head of the CAPC, Avgoustinos Potamitis, is quoted as saying that even though health minister Stavros Malas invited the association to sit "round a table to discuss proposals and solutions on drugs’ pricing…an hour earlier he had already taken decisions that he published".
At the end of last week, Mr Malas announced that a new pricing policy, expected to be fully implemented by the end of November, could lead to reductions between 15% and 50%. Mr Potamitis told the newspaper that the November deadline did not give pharmacies and companies enough time to exhaust their stock.
In response, Mr Malas was quoted by the Cyprus Mail as saying that companies were aware of the ministry’s plan and were asked in July to offer their suggestions. However, many retailers "did not respond to the ministry’s request. We gave them more than one deadline and we think there should be no more delays", he said.“We cannot procrastinate and use excuses as a pretext to buy time".
The cuts are expected to affect medicines that cost over 10 euros, whereas the CAPC had called for a higher limit of 15 euros. Mr Potamitis fears the changes will led to the "exit from the Cyprus market” for some treatments as drugmakers' profit margins will be hit too hard.
The Cyprus Mail report claims that the country's drugs are the second most expensive in the European Union, due in part to the high number of private pharmacies on the island which supply 20%-25% of the population.