70% Plus of Pharmacies Join Protest over Health Ministry Policy

70% Plus of Pharmacies Join Protest over Health Ministry Policy

Over 70 per cent of pharmacies in this country joined the Tuesday protest against the Health Ministry's policy in the pharmaceutical sector, the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union (BPU) said.

The pharmacies closed their doors to customers from 12:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs on Tuesday. The protest of the Pernik pharmacies lasted even longer - from 10:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs. The highest number of protesting pharmacies was registered in Pernik, Blagoevgrad, Vratsa, Kyustendil, Gabrovo, Kurdjali and Smolyan.

The Governing Board of BPU took a decision to stage the protest in connection with the Ministry-conducted policy, related to the markup of medicine prices. On November 29, 2006 the Government
approved an ordinance under which markups of medicine prices are reduced by 4 to 6 per cent on the average. According to BPU, on separate occasions, this change would result in an increase of prices. The Union believes that the real way of reducing prices of medicines is by removing VAT charged on them.

However, the Ministry said on Monday that "upon good management of the pharmacies the reduction of markups could not result in their bankruptcy".

In December 2007 the prices of medicinal products, sold with and without prescription and the medicines, included in the positive list, were automatically re-registered, effective as of January 1, 2008. The new positive medicines' list was promulgated in an extraordinary issue of Official Gazette on December 27, 2007.

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