Pharmacies should not be turned into business structures

Back in July, the Verkhovna Rada registered a bill #8591 on amendments to the Law on Medicines, which provides for a reduction in the number and concentration of pharmacies, and for a ban on chains of pharmacies.

While discussions concerning some of its aspects are still ongoing, Iryna Sysoyenko informed us of the main tasks of the draft law:

“Due to the fact that in Ukraine there is a certain monopoly on the sale of medicines, the owners of pharmacy chains are beginning to shape the process of pharmacies’ functioning as a business process that should generate a certain profit. However, there is no doubt that these are the patients and their interests that must be taken into account in the first place.

When a large network of pharmacies only pursues its own enrichment, the owners begin to lay down the rules to the manufacturers regarding how to place medicines on the shelves and telling them to sell only those medicines that can be profitably sold. Therefore, there is some imposition of certain drugs onto patients in order to get a premium on the drugs that this pharmacy chain sells.

Presently, pharmacy owners and manufacturers are building their relationships in such a way that up to 40-50% of the additional cost of medicines occurs, and this is paid exclusively by the patients.

When working on this bill, we studied the experience of many foreign countries. For example, in Germany, it is prohibited for one owner to have more than three pharmacies. This makes the owners really focus on their buyers. This makes them very effective, because they work to ensure that the consumers will choose their pharmacy in the future. And this also makes them sell drugs at the lowest price in order to encourage the consumers to buy drugs in their pharmacy. In this case, these are the interests of the patients that are taken into account in the first place.

This bill aims to reduce the price of medicines and prevent situations when pharmacy chains raise drug prices taking advantage of their position in the market.

I also believe that it is necessary to get back to the practice of manufacturing medicines in pharmacies. This is much cheaper for the consumer than to buy ready-made medicines at inflated prices.

It is very important to make pharmacies stop shaping their work as business structures and start working as healthcare institutions, not as places of corruption created for the enrichment of the owners of pharmacy chains.

Iryna Sysoienko
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