Hospitals have reported shortages of 58 drugs, but most of them are not on a procurement price adjustment list, so the list would still be published on Wednesday after a short delay, the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said yesterday.
Amid reports that the agency is planning to cut its drug procurement budget by up to NT$15 billion (US$492.13 million), NHIA Director-General Shih Chung-
liang (石崇良) on Wednesday said that it only seeks to cut the budget by about NT$8.18 billion.
The NHIA normally revises the budget to purchase NHI-funded drugs annually, but it has not been adjusted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shih said.
Because of the hiatus, prices for 6,009 drugs would be cut this year, he said, adding that drugmakers would be allowed to negotiate if adjusted procurement prices are not enough to cover production costs.
The prices would not fall below the floor price and prices for about 88 drugs that have low stocks would not be cut, he said.
However, the NHIA did not release the list on Friday as it had planned.
Chinese-language media reported that the missed release was because a drug shortage had worsened, affecting several hospitals.
The NHIA yesterday said that it met with medical representatives and heads of medical centers to discuss the drug shortage, with the Taiwan Community Hospital Association providing the meeting with a list of 58 drugs that were in short supply.
After comparing the association’s list with the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage evaluation list, the NHIA determined that most of the 58 drugs were not among those scheduled to have their procurement price cut, NHIA Medical Review and Pharmaceutical Benefits Division head Huang Yu-wen (黃育文) said.
Some of the 58 drugs have the same ingredients and dosages as ones that the NHIA has been procuring for more than 15 years, or for which alternatives are available, while others are running low because of malfunctions in packaging machines, shipping delays or other issues, which would gradually ease, Huang said.
The association’s list would not affect the planned procurement price cuts, she said, adding that the NHIA list is expected to be released on Wednesday.
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