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Drug makers offer to pay crisis tax, if it supports healthcare wages

Hungarian drug makers are prepared to pay a crisis tax that will generate HUF 25 billion in revenue, as long as the state puts the money back into the healthcare sector in the form of remuneration for doctors and nurses, the Hungarian Association of Drug makers (Magyosz) told MTI on Monday.

Daily Magyar Nemzet reported in its Monday issue that the government told drug companies that drug subsidy measures to be introduced from July 1 would result in a HUF 25.9 billion net budget improvement.

Magyosz said drug makers were prepared to pay 5% of turnover from factory gate sales of subsidized drugs on the crisis tax.

Hungarian drug makers already pay a tax on sales of subsidized drugs as well as one on drug sales representatives.

Drug makers and the government finished the first round of talks on changes to the drug subsidy system last week, Magyosz said. More negotiations are to follow.

Preserving the country's competitiveness and maintaining the operability of the healthcare sector are priorities from the point of view of Magyosz, the association said. A restructuring of the drug subsidy system should support the goal of increasing spending on research and development from 1.15% of GDP at present to 1.8% by 2020, it added.

The government's recently unveiled Structural Reform Program, dubbed the Szell Kalman Plan, aims to improve the fiscal balance by HUF 83 billion in 2012 and HUF 120n in both 2013 and 2014 through changes to the drug subsidy system.