Experts propose cutting down discounted medicines

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Health and pharmaceutical regulatory experts reported on a recent inspection at pharmacies on November 27 and emphasized the need to reduce the number of subsidized medicines and drugs.

Following complaints about frequently sold out subsidized medicines and drugs, Minister of Health D.Sarangerel assigned six working groups consisting of 25 people from the Ministry of Health, General Authority of Health and Social Insurance and Ulaanbaatar Health Office to explore opportunities for reducing workload at pharmacies and inspect their operations to ensure drug prescription standards are followed.

Reportedly, the General Authority of Health and Social Insurance authorized operations of 861 pharmacies across Mongolia and 324 of them operate in Ulaanbaatar.

“Over 100 pharmacies we evaluated had a budget ranging between 10 million MNT and 142 million MNT. People don’t have to wait in a queue for a long time at pharmacies with decent financial capacity and supply of drugs and medicines. However, long lines arise in pharmacies with poor financing. Based on this, it would be better to heighten requirements for operating pharmacies and provide the exact same level of financing to a smaller number of pharmacies,” stated B.Bayarbold, the Head of the Assistance and Service Quality Division at the Policy and Implementation Department of the General Authority of Health and Social Insurance.

During the press conference, experts brought attention to the improper use of medicines and drugs subsidized through the health insurance. Observations showed that people are getting a doctor’s prescription without getting examined and using it to buy medicines with discounts.

Experts proposed to provide discounts only for the most essential medicines and drugs in order to tackle the number of people who misuse drugs and medicines.

“It’s possible for pharmacies to work with a moderate workload for a whole month if doctors allow10 to 15 people to get medicines for free of charge a day. It’s best to include only the most essential medicines in the List of Discounted Medicines and Drugs. The more medicines are included in the list, the more people tend to safe keep expensive medicines instead of using them,” stated M.Uranchimeg, the Head of the Production of Drugs and Medical Equipment Division at the Ministry of Health.

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