WARSAW, Jan 19 (APM) - Patient organisations' requests to increase spending in Poland on drug reimbursement appear as though they could be met.
They have requested increased spending on drug reimbursement to the statutory maximum of 17% of the National Health Fund’s (NHF) overall budget. Poland's Ministry of Health (MoH) said it is considering a possible increase in current spending, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB11) on Wednesday.
Patient organisations claim the statutory threshold of 17% is never reached, as the funds are often shifted to other areas. They want new regulations to ensure the money is properly allocated.
Last year, officials suggested that the funds for drug reimbursement could be moved to a dedicated account, which would resolve the issue, but no further steps have been taken since then to ensure that the funding would be secured. Patient organisations also emphasise that, while the NHF’s overall reimbursement budget for 2018 rose 7.6%, the budget for drugs increased by just 0.9%.
According to the MoH, the NHF spent 12.3 billion zlotys (2.95 billion euros) on drug reimbursement in 2017, which accounted for 15.65% of the total spending.
Sales of erectile dysfunction drugs leap
According to IQVIA, sales of sildenafil, the Polish over-the-counter erectile dysfunction equivalent of Viagra, soared from 648,000 packets in 2016 to 2.82 million in 2017, which represents growth of 335%, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA1 and pA6) on Tuesday.
Sales of a larger dose in larger packs, available as prescription only, also increased by 90%, from 2.4 million packets in 2016 to 4.55 million packets in 2017.
Experts say the sharp rise in the sales of the drug is probably due to the prescription requirement for sildenafil in lower doses being lifted in 2016 and a raid by the authorities of two large illegal factories producing such drugs. Another reason could be numerous advertisements of male potency supplements in the Polish media and a major marketing campaign for sildenafil after it received its over-the-counter status.
According to estimates, around 10% of Polish men have erectile dysfunction.
Pharmacy loyalty cards breaching regulations
The Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw ruled that loyalty discount cards offered by a pharmacy in Lodz were a form of illegal advertising, prohibited the pharmacy from using them and imposed a 5,000 zloty (1,200 euros) fine on it, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA14) on Tuesday.
The loyalty cards authorised customers to buy over-the-counter drugs at discounted prices regardless of the frequency and value of purchases and included information on the location of the pharmacy and its opening times.
Mabion’s share price soared to an all-time high of 139 zlotys (33.3 euros) on Monday, after the company received the results of the pharmacokinetic profile of its MabThera equivalent, MabionCD20 for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, from an independent research company, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA30), Puls Biznesu (p19) and Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p6) on Tuesday.
The company intends to file the registration documentation for MabionCD20 with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the first quarter of the year, reported Rzeczpospolita and Puls Biznesu.
Mabion signed a partnership agreement with Mylan in 2016, under which it received $10 million for the rights to distribute the drug in the EU. It will receive another $35 million from Mylan once it reaches further milestones, of which obtaining approval for registering the drug in the EU is the most important, reported Puls Biznesu.
Mabion is also preparing for a share issue on an overseas stock exchange, from which it hopes to obtain 440 million zlotys (105.5 million euros) to cover its debts, increase production capacity and finance R&D activities, reported Rzeczpospolita.