Situation in health care sector has been improving. Patients requiring treatment, special medicines and novelties can receive more help. All these issues were discussed with Mr. Algis Sasnauskas, Director of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and this interview was published in the supplement "Sveikatos gidas" to the daily "Lietuvos rytas".
Director of NHIF Mr. Algis Sasnauskas. Photo of NHIF.
– How well the patients are supplied with medicines they need, which are paid by the National Health Insurance Fund from the budget of Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF)? With this question we started our discussion with Mr. A Sasnauskas, Director of NHIF.
– There have been several ways to supply the required medicines to the patients. One of them – offering reimbursable medicines. This group contains majority of drugs and 100, 90, 80 or 50 percent of basic price is reimbursable. The extent of compensation depends on an individual medicine and the remaining part of the price shall be paid by the patient. Another way – centralised purchase of the medicines by NHIF and distribution among the healthcare establishments. The medicines are supplied to the healthcare institutions as soon as the procedures of public procurement have been completed. The third way – healthcare institutions themselves by the cheaper medicines using money allocated for them by CHIF. This ensures availability of medicines necessary for the patients at the hospitals, polyclinics and other healthcare institution.
– The budget of CHIF for the year 2015 will exceed the budget for the current year. Have you planned to allocate more finances for medicines necessary to treat patients?
– Specified budget of CHIF for the year 2015 is currently under discussion. The total sum of 4.76 billion Litas (1.4 billion Euro) has been planned in the budget. To compare with the budget for the year 2014, this budged is bigger by 7.5 percent or 332.3 million Litas (96.3 million Euro). This indicates improving situation in the financing of healthcare sector. Additional means will be allocated to pay for the treatment, medical rehabilitation and sanatorial treatment services. Additional finances were also planned for reimbursement of medicines and medical aids as well as for reimbursement of innovative medicines. Some means will be allocated for health programmes, especially for preventive ones. This is important, as earlier diagnosis of cancer and other treacherous diseases leads to more successful their treatment.
– A new approach has been already implemented in Lithuania – negotiations with the manufacturers of the orphan drugs regarding their price in Lithuania. These negotiations have been successful. What benefits do they bring for the patients?
– I am happy to say that close cooperation among the responsible institutions and successful negotiations allowed to reduce the price of medicines bought for the hospitals even by tenth part. Thus, they will have better opportunities to administer for the patients necessary medicines, since the manufacturers of proprietary and patented medicines agreed to sell them for Lithuania approximately by 10.5 percent cheaper. Transinstitutional negotiation commission, comprised of the representatives of the Ministry of Health, National Health Insurance Fund and other responsible institutions, usually participates in the negotiations with the manufacturers. The results obtained during the last two years have demonstrated that this innovation served the purpose. The total economic effect reached during 2013 and 2014 was 13.74 million Litas. In other words, these means again are used to by medicines necessary for the patients, but amount of medicines is bigger, thus we will be able to offer help for more patients.
– Medicines for which patients will be bought for the saved money?
– We will buy bigger amount of medicines intended for oncological patients, premature new-borns as well as for the treatment of severe diseases.
– What more innovations could we expect?
– We strive to ensure that more medicines necessary for the patients' treatment would be available and patients would not have to pay for them. Therefore different alternatives have been discussed. For example, it could be useful to revise the list of medicines and medical aids purchased according to the centralised procedure, deleting minor medical products, and adding their price into the total price of treatment (service) or to move them into the list of reimbursable items. This would give an opportunity to buy bigger amount of necessary medicines, since more preparations could be entered into the list of medicines purchased according to the centralised procedure.
Interview of Mr. A. Sasnauskas, director of NHIF 17 October 2014 supplement "Sveikatos gidas" to daily "Lietuvos Rytas".pdf