How Much will the Prices for Medicines in Belarus Rise

How much will the prices for medicines in Belarus rise and what should buyers expect? Experts told.

The prices for medicines in Belarus should not increase by more than 5%. The Ministry of Health gave such a recommendation to the trade, according to the News program “24 Hours” on STV.

Since February 1, Belarusian pharmacies have changed the prices for medicines, taking into account the increased VAT. On February 2, participants in the pharmaceutical market discussed the situation. The outcome of the meetings: the risk of price increases will be mitigated by joint efforts, but are all market participants ready for this? What can buyers expect? And how will the prescription be monitored?

The 10% VAT on medicines made a lot of noise in the information space. This is one of the updates to the Tax Code that came into force on January 1.

Thus, the government plans to unify the tax legislation of the EurAsEC (primarily Russia) with the Belarusian one. The measure caused concern – prices may rise by the same amount as VAT has grown.

Until 2021, as you know, in Belarus, medicines were exempted from VAT. At the same time, sometimes the price for them was higher than in neighboring Russia, where the VAT of 10% was already in effect. As noted in the Ministry of Taxes and Duties, it is incorrect to associate this only with taxation. That is, there are questions to business entities.

According to the Ministry of Health, the number of pharmacies in Belarus is constantly growing. This indicates the high margin of the business. This means the availability of resources to prevent high prices. This opinion was expressed by the Deputy Minister of Health Dmitry Cherednichenko. The department held a number of meetings with participants in the pharmaceutical market. Result – recommendations that will make the cost of medicines, quote, “digestible”.

Selling prices should be reduced by 2%. When forming wholesale and retail prices, reduce the amount of applied markups also by 2% at the level of the wholesale link. And by 5-6% at the retail level. Thus, we will neutralize the introduction of VAT. The Ministry of Health is ready for any dialogue and any suggestions from all participants in the pharmaceutical market. Therefore, we are confident that there will be no unjustified increase in prices for medicines.

The optimization of drug production is also intended to neutralize the introduction of VAT. For example, they are working on this at Belmedpreparaty. It is noted here that in 2020 the purchase prices for imported components increased by 20%. And on separate substances for antikidny drugs – twice. At the same time, prices for drugs produced by Belmed (and they are the leader on the Belarusian pharmaceutical market) increased by only 3.5%. That is, the enterprise has undertaken all costs. They plan to adhere to the same strategy this year.

Between the manufacturer and the final pharmacy, there are a number of companies, organizations that deal with wholesale and retail distribution. And here, indeed, the well-coordinated work of all the elements of this chain will yield the result that we will see on the shelf. At the moment we are working in a team with wholesale, retail companies in order to minimize this effect from the introduction of VAT in our country. I think if we work, then we will succeed.

Taking into account all the measures, the prices for medicines in Belarus should not increase by more than 5%. The dynamics will be monitored by MART, Belstat, the State Control Committee, and trade unions. The Ministry of Health also has such functions. Anyone can contact the hotline of this or other departments. They promise to consider the appeal and respond promptly.

In January, literally at the very beginning, we launched an online questionnaire on our website, which citizens actively use, fill out if there are facts of growth. We are working on these facts. The second form of interaction is that we carry out selective monitoring. We also receive applications from citizens. What have we seen? Regardless of the form of ownership of the subject, pharmacies are flexible enough to respond. It is clear that there are very sensitive positions that apply certain discounts.

The primary control over prices will be carried out in relation to anti-inflammatory, antiviral drugs, some antibiotics. That is, drugs that everyone can not do without.

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