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Health Minister says doctors prescribe more medicines than needed

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, April 26
Georgia’s Minister of Health, Davit Sergeenko, has told the Kviris Palitra newspaper that doctors very often prescribe more medicines than needed and generally the medicines are very expensive.

The Minister named the high cost of medicines as one of the biggest problems afflicting Georgian healthcare.

"About twice as much is spent on medicines in our country as in developed countries. Very often doctors prescribe more medicines than needed, which is very expensive,” the Minister said, and noted that based on the experience of different countries there are three ways to solve this problem.

According to the Minister, the first such step is for a state to impose an income tax for pharmaceutical companies. The second is starting subsidizing from the state budget, i.e. buying medicines for people, while the third way involves introducing regulations that would control local and foreign medicines and make the market more attractive for other players.

Sergeenko said Georgia took a mixed model.

“We had been subsidizing earlier too. State programs buy some medicines. We started to ensure competition and to control the quality,” said the Minister.

According to the Minister, medicine prices fell as soon as the reform was launched.

In the interview the Minister also named a weakness of the acting Government and stressed it was the lack of communication with people.

However, he said the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition had the highest chance to win the upcoming October elections.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary opposition criticizes the reforms in the healthcare field and says the Universal Healthcare Programme - meaning the covering certain medical expenses for all Georgians - must be modified, as it is a big burden for the state budget.

In his recent meeting with journalists, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also said the Ministers and wealthier sections of the public must be deprived of the government's universal healthcare.