The Lithuanian Free Market Institute has examined draft amendments to Articles 2, 8, 19, 33, 35, 591 and 681 of the Law on Pharmacy aimed at allowing hospital pharmacies to engage in retail trade in pharmaceuticals and submitted its comments and proposals to the relevant authorities. In its position paper the Lithuanian Free Market Institute noted that:
- the decision to allow state-owned healthcare institution to engage in commercial activities is unjustified and poses a threat that public healthcare funds will be used for retail trade;
- commercial activities by state-owned healthcare institutions may infringe on the principles of fair competition;
- a prohibition against the display of discounts on the labels of pharmaceuticals would limit the possibilities of informing patients about lower prices; moreover, drafter of the law do not provide arguments indicating the need of such provision;
- a prohibition on transporting pharmaceuticals to another place of operation of a retail company is unjustified;
- if implemented, a proposal to compile a list of pharmaceuticals that may be sold by retail companies would unduly restrict the possibilities of retail companies of engaging into an economic activity of a similar scale as carried out by public pharmacies;
- a prohibition on the sale of pharmaceuticals intended for use by children under 12 years would limit the possibilities of retail companies of engaging into an economic activity of a similar scale as carried out by public pharmacies;
and proposed to:
- allow the display of discounts to patients and withdraw the proposal to restrict the transportation of pharmaceuticals between different branches of retail trade companies;
- withdraw the proposal to prohibit the sale of pharmaceuticals containing more than one active substance, because a safe use of pharmaceuticals is not related to the number of active substances in a single medicinal product;
- withdraw the proposal to compile a list of pharmaceuticals that may be sold by retail companies.
The full position paper on draft amendments to the Law on Pharmacy (in Lithuanian) is available here.