|Photo by: Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters|
Prescription drug prices drop another 3%
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Only half of Israelis taking the medications prescribed by their doctors, survey finds.
Maximum prices for prescription medications fell on December 2 by an average of
three percent, the Health Ministry announced on Monday.
factors were changes in exchange rates and their declines in drug prices in
certain countries. The trend was kept despite the increase in Israel’s
value-added tax this year.
In the past three years, medication prices
have declined by a total of 24%. Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman welcomed
the decline and said that supervision and setting maximum drug prices were very
important, as they constituted a basis for calculation of copayments and
protected the public, who need prescription medicines. He added there was still
room for more reductions in drug price.
The ministry said it has issued
new regulations on the size of drug packages to prevent pharmaceutical companies
from reducing the amount of pills inside, which increases the cost of
medications for consumers.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the polling
company Market Watch last week has found that only half of Israelis take all the
medications prescribed by their doctor. The survey, conducted among more than
500 respondents aged 18 and over from across the country, was taken for this
week’s Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School conference marking the 60th
anniversary of the first graduating class.
The survey also found that 70%
of respondents seek out preliminary information about their illness before
seeing their doctor; and 40% of respondents (especially among people over 45)
cited doctors’ level of expertise as the main factor affecting their decision
about which doctor to see. Twenty percent of respondents cited doctors’ level of
availability as the main factor affecting which doctor they see, while 20% cited
geographic proximity as the most important factor.
Sixty percent of
respondents carry out all the tests prescribed by their doctor, while 4% do not
undergo any of the tests.
Five percent of patients don’t take any of the
prescribed drugs, and 82% of respondents are not afraid to go to the
“Our survey indicates that in the 21st century, an era of rapid
communication and easily available information, the medical profession is even
more challenging,” said Prof.
Eran Leitersdorf, dean of the Hebrew
University Faculty of Medicine.
“The school bears a heavy responsibility
regarding training physicians of the future while implementing the vast
knowledge accumulated in accordance with the objectives of the State of Israel
in the fields of medicine and biomedical science.”
Drenger, head of the alumni group at the medical school, said “the fact that
only 50% of the population take all their prescribed drugs is alarming and is
due in part to the fact that people cannot afford the drugs they
“The state must act to increase the national health expenditure so
that people can get the medical treatment they need and fulfill this basic
right,” he said.