Pharmaceutical Policy and the Effects of the Economic Crisis: Lithuania
(2011; 4 pages)


Expenditure on health for the 3.3 million inhabitants in Lithuania is financed primarily via compulsory health insurance contributions, with contributions depending on income. The Ministry of Health is responsible for implementing pharmaceutical policy as well as ensuring the efficient and safe use of pharmaceuticals at socially acceptable prices. Currently 4.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on health care (related to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) budget) excluding private expenditure, with pharmaceuticals accounting for 16%. In 2009, the NHIF spent an average of €376.50 per insured person, similar to other Central and Eastern European countries.

Responding to the economic crisis, a Plan for the Improvement of Pharmaceutical Accessibility and Price Reduction was approved in July 2009. The main objectives of the Plan were: to halt the growth in NHIF expenditure for reimbursable pharmaceuticals; reduce public expenditure on pharmaceuticals; provide patients with more information about medicinal products and extend freedom of choice; and to make the pharmaceutical sector more ethical and transparent. The Plan measures were applied to all stakeholders in the pharmaceutical market: manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacy chains, individual pharmacies, physicians and competent authorities. The Ministry of Health was also concerned about rising out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures for pharmaceuticals and decided to reintroduce price regulation for non-reimbursable pharmaceuticals (prices for reimbursable pharmaceuticals are already regulated)...

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