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The Health and Finance Ministries have reduced the prices of all prescription medications in the basket of health services by 10 percent by comparing them with those of Portugal, Spain and Hungary rather than those of Holland, Britain, France, Germany and Belgium, which have higher standards of living and thus higher drug costs.
Drugs that are in the basket of health services - supplied by the health funds with state subsidies - will immediately cost 10 percent less. The cost of drugs that are not in the basket will be reduced gradually by 10% over the next four years.
Over-the-counter medications for which there is no prescription are not affected. In some of the health funds, members pay a set fee for a dose of drugs; the cheapest medications for which the minimum payment is made will not be even cheaper, ,The Jerusalem Post has learned. The 10% reduction will, however, be felt by health fund members charged a percentage of the cost of each drug instead of a set fee.
According to this new model, drugs that are in the future added to the basket will not cost more than the lowest price of the drug in countries that are members of the European Union.
Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri said on Wednesday that the move would help reduce the medication expenses of all Israelis. He credited his predecessor, Minister Ya'acov Edri, with beginning the work on changing the formula in negotiations with the Treasury and the umbrella organization of pharmaceutical companies selling their products in Israel.
Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson congratulated Health and Finance Ministry officials on their efforts to bring about a reduction in drug prices in negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies.