The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) has reduced reimbursements for 7,470 drugs covered by the National Health Insurance (NHI) and expects to save about NT$5.83 billion (US$189.6 million), it said on Friday.
In an effort to secure financial stability for the NHI by reducing the gap between sale and procurement prices, it introduced a drug expenditure target pilot program in 2013 to adjust pharmaceutical prices on an annual basis, the agency said.
Under the scheme, the agency sets a target for total annual NHI expenditure on drugs and if that exceeds the budget, price adjustments are implemented.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
The scheme was revised when it ended in 2016 and a modified three-year pilot program was implemented in 2017 that excludes expenditure for treating HIV infection, hepatitis C, hemophilia and rare diseases.
This year, reimbursements for 66 drugs would be raised, while 7,470 would be lowered, passing on an average price increase of 3.5 percent, the agency said.
The changes are to take effect on April 1, it said.
NHIA Division of Medicinal Products section head Lien Heng-jung (連恆榮) said the NHI spends approximately NT$170 billion on drugs each year, with last year’s expenditure exceeding the target by NT$5.83 billion, so prices were adjusted after consulting drug price adjustment regulations and drug market surveys.
The savings might be used to add new drugs to the NHI system or expand coverage for NHI drugs, Lien said.
Among the top 10 reimbursements drugs last year, seven would cost more at the counter, including Crestor 10mg flim-coated tablets (rosuvastatin calcium), a commonly prescribed medicine that helps control low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the agency said.
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