MAFS PUSHES FOR EU ACTION ON CZECH DRUG CLASSIFICATION POLICY

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The International Association of Pharmaceuticals Companies (MAFS) claims that the Czech government has still not amended its "nontransparent" medicines categorization policy, which the group first lobbied to change in March 2005. This inaction, says MAFS, could result in penalties for the Czech government.

Jana Mikotova, executive director of MAFS, noted that the Czech Ministry of Health's current nontransparent policy is unacceptable. The government, she said, should release categorization criteria in advance to the appropriate parties, and should establish time-limits for clearing applications. "Every year, [billions] from the public health insurance budget are divided up without proper control," said Mikotova.

The government's categorization commission, an advisory body to the health minister, recently released a new round of drug classifications, and will soon reconvene to decide what medicines can be covered by insurance companies. In light of the claims made by MAFS, the EU Commission will review the issue in an upcoming session. If the commission finds that the classification policy has breached any EU transparency laws, a complaint may be filed in the European Court of Justice.