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Cheaper drugs in three months
A NEW pricing policy for medicines, expected to be fully implemented by the end of November, could lead to reductions between 15 and 50 per cent, Health Minister Stavros Malas said yesterday.
“We expect there will be a significant reduction, up to 50 per cent, on some medicines,” the minister said. “Generally, the reduction will be between 15 and 20 per cent.”
Malas said the cuts concern “the more expensive” medicines -- those that cost over €10.
The minister said final decisions will be taken by the beginning of September, adding that some time will be given to pharmacies to sell the stock bought at a higher price.
Malas was speaking during a visit to Nicosia general hospital where he inaugurated a new department that will handle less serious incidents in a bid to decongest the emergency room.
“Incidents which are mild will not enter the emergency room but will be processed in a specially adapted clinic so as to serve patients quickly,” Malas said.
He added that such incidents make up between 20 and 30 per cent of the total.
Head of the accident and emergency department Phivos Costopoulos, said the waiting time will be short “and the medical staff will not have this pressure on them.”
Officials said for the time being the scheme would only run in Nicosia general and if it works there would be a recommendation to implement it in other districts.
The government has also decided to introduce a €10 emergency room fee in a bid to deter people who abuse the system.
Pensioners and certain other groups like the security forces will be exempted.
“We must realise that the health system in Cyprus, and I mean state hospitals, is under tremendous pressure,” Malas said.
He said people demand faster services but these cannot always be provided free of charge.
“There must be a very small, symbolic contribution from all of us to be able to cope with this huge workload,” Malas said.
Along with the emergency room fee, there will also be a €0.50 charge per examination at outpatient clinics, again, to tackle abuse of the system.
Another proposed change is scrapping a separate category of health beneficiaries holding category B medical cards whose holders pay up to half of their medical expenses in the state sector.
Instead, there will be one unified category for those entitled to free healthcare.