Pharmacists are indignant at the reduction of margins, and citizens point out that pharmacies profit

18.11.2021. / 16:47

– Vukić: Besides betting shops, pharmacies are the most profitable business
– Adzic: About 50 percent of the turnover of pharmacies are prescription drugs and there is no margin

BANJALUKA – Government Decree on reducing the margin on medicines It was adopted without consulting the professional public and the subjects that are the subject of that Regulation, and based on the analysis which is completely unusable, she told CAPITAL President of the Pharmaceutical Society of the Republic of Srpska Rada Amidžić.

FOTO: Pixabay

On the other hand, in the Association of Citizens “Think Good”, whose analysis showed that they are medicines in BiH are the most expensive in the region, welcome the decision of the RS government to limit margins on medicines, stating that they are the largest in the region in BiH and that pharmacies, in addition to bookmakers, are currently the most profitable business.

CAPITAL announced today that drug traffickers in Srpska are threatening to relocate to FBiH due to the government’s decision to reduce margins on drugs.

Current drug margins in wholesale are eight percent and in retail 20 percent. As of November 25, they should be reduced to six or 18 percent, however, drug traffickers oppose it and ask for a meeting with RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic.

The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of the Republic of Srpska, Rada Amidžić, says for CAPITAL that the Government Decree on Margin Reduction is debatable in several respects.

“First, the activity code states production, and the reduction in margin refers to wholesale and retail. Secondly, the Regulation was adopted without any consultation with the professional public and the subjects that are the subject of that change, without any projections of what impact it will have on them. ” she said.

Adzic: Reduce VAT on medicines

She pointed out that this Decree was made on the basis of the recommendations of an association of citizens, which performed an analysis that is completely unusable.

“They observed some five drugs, one manufacturer, which are traded on the markets of BiH, Serbia and Montenegro. They made comparisons, and in doing so, these are drugs that are on the fund list. Medicines that are on the fund’s list are prescribed to patients, and the margins in the pharmacy are not charged at all at the purchase price, but the purchase price is invoiced to the RS Health Insurance Fund. What the pharmacy gets is only a pharmaceutical service for dispensing medicine, ie 1.43 KM without VAT. “Of those five drugs, two are from the fund list, and three cannot be seen in that context, because some of them are on the hospital list and are issued only in the hospital.” Adzic points out.

Asked whether the margin of 18% is small, Adzic said that it is disputable that this is being done without any expert analysis that would show what impact it will have.

“We are in favor of making medicines cheaper and more accessible for patients, but the way to reduce margins based on recommendations and analysis that have no basis is not the right way.”, she stressed.


By the way, the VAT on medicines in BiH is 17 percent, as well as on all other products, while in the surrounding area it is much lower.

Thus, in Croatia, VAT is not paid on medicines, in Montenegro it is seven percent, with the proviso that it is not calculated for medicines paid by the Fund, while in Serbia it is ten percent.

On our conclusion that even beyond this analysis, it is known that medicines in BiH are more expensive than in countries in the region, Adzic says that the solution could be to reduce VAT, stating that in some countries VAT is not paid on medicines at all.

“The possibility of reducing the VAT on medicines, which is lower in the environment than in our country, should be considered. “Another possibility is to see if the Government has mechanisms to negotiate the entry prices of medicines, because it is obvious that they are higher for our market.” she said.

Azic also says that pharmacies can only put a margin on medicines that are not prescribed by the RS Health Insurance Fund.

“About 50 percent of the total turnover of pharmacies are prescription drugs. So, there is no margin, the Fund reimburses the purchase price. The rest of the turnover at this 50 percent is the margin we are talking about. ” Adzic pointed out.

Vukic: Regulations in BiH in the exclusive interest of wholesalers and pharmacies

The Citizens’ Association “Misli dobro” says that they have identified the ten best-selling medicines in BiH and compared them with the prices in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Their analysis showed that out of 13 best-selling drugs, as many as nine are the most expensive in BiH.

“When we add to these maximum wholesale prices the retail margins that are the highest, the VAT that is also the highest, we get what we have, that some drugs in BiH are twice or several times more expensive than in Serbia.”, says for CAPITAL Uros Vukic from the Association “Think Good”.

He emphasizes that the regulations related to the drug market in BiH are in the exclusive interest of wholesalers and retail pharmacy chains, to the detriment of citizens.

“The maximum wholesale margin in our country is eight percent, and in Serbia and Montenegro six percent. When it comes to retail margins, the situation is even worse. Retail margins are under the jurisdiction of the entities and in the Republika Srpska this margin is 20 percent, in the Federation of BiH it is 25 percent, while in Montenegro it is 18 percent, and in Croatia and Serbia it is differentiated, which means that the higher the wholesale price of the drug, the lower “, Vukić pointed out.

Thus, a pharmacy in the Republika Srpska can earn 200 KM, in the Federation of BiH 250 KM, in Montenegro 180 KM, in Croatia 100 KM, and in Serbia only 15.6 KM for a medicine whose maximum wholesale price is 1,000 KM.

There is room for price changes, because we have the largest margins in the region

Vukic says that there is room in BiH for reducing the prices of medicines and that it depends exclusively on the will of politicians, ie institutions to deal with it.

“We welcome the decision of the RS Government to limit the margins on medicines, but that is not a systemic solution and we are afraid that it will be short-lived.” As for the claim of the Pharmaceutical Society that the analysis we did is not good and that it included drugs that are not paid by citizens but hospitals and health insurance funds, we ask the question who fills the funds and who finances hospitals, citizens or that money falls from the sky? Also, the announcements of pharmacists that they will transfer their business to the Federation of BiH are a shot in the arm, because as long as they have a brand of profit in Republika Srpska, they will stay there. “, Vukić emphasized.

He reminded that there had been such threats before, and that nothing had happened, but, on the contrary, they had increased the number of their retail facilities, of which there are currently 488 in Republika Srpska.

CAPITAL: Marina Čigoja Ljubojević

Source: – Informacija je capital by

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