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Government to discuss drug subsidies cuts on Wednesday

Hungary's government will discuss a package on Wednesday that proposes cutting drug subsidies from HUF 343 billion to HUF 223 billion beginning in 2013, according to daily newspaper Népszabadság.

The government's structural reform program, dubbed the Széll Kálmán plan, targets to save HUF 83 billion on drug subsidies in 2010 and to increase the annual savings to HUF 120 billion in 2013.

The package to be discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday would restructure the pharmaceuticals market in Hungary in three years, requiring companies to make major contributions in therapies. It would also induce customers to buy the cheapest drugs by imposing financial disadvantages on those who buy more expensive medications or do not take the medicine prescribed, Népszabadság wrote. Overweight patients or patients who smoke would pay more for drugs, and doctors would be required to prescribe a dose and the active ingredient rather than specific drugs according to the paper.

The government plans to prepare details of the new drug subsidy system by September, the daily reported.