Pharmaceutical companies spend annually around 40 million euros on the promotion and marketing. This money is used to sponsor doctors and pharmacists. The Ministry of Finance plans to tax these promotional activities. For example, if the company has paid doctors for participation in the Congress, than has to pay 19 per cent tax from the amount company spent on it. Companies and practitioners disagree with this tax. Currently, sponsorship is in the declaration of taxes listed by doctors. Ministry of Finance, however, seem suspicious amounts they admitted. Pharmaceutical companies have reported that they spent more than 41 million on the promotional activities, but doctors according to the Ministry taxed only tens of thousands of euros.
From the next year the pharmaceutical companies should inform about which doctors they plan to meet, or which they have already met. Lists should be published on the website of Ministry of Health (MoH). Doctors and pharmaceutical companies do not like this proposal involved in the amendment to the act on pharmaceuticals. Doctors are afraid that this measure will disturb the personal data protection. They also claim that amendment does not clearly define the aim, which the MoH wants to reach. Association of the Suppliers of Pharmaceuticals and Slovak Association of Pharmaceutical Companies also stated that such a collection and publishing of personal data represents an unauthorized intrusion into privacy.
Ministry of Health plans in the proposed amendment to the act on pharmaceuticals to order pharmaceutical companies to provide Ministry with the list of meetings with doctors. Ministry would afterward publish it on its website. Producers of generic pharmaceuticals do not like this measure, as it will according to them worsen the business environment. Legal standard should after approving by the Government, Parliament and after signing by the President enter into force on July 2, 2013.
Slovak Association of Pharmaceutical Companies Oriented to the Research and Development warns that valid acts as well as Code of Ethic of the Association expressly prohibit pharmaceutical companies to pay leisure and relaxing activities for doctors and healthcare professionals. This is set by current act on pharmaceuticals and medical devices and even proposed changes would not change it. Pharmaceutical companies want and suggest that the rules of the support of professional events should be transparent.
Associations representing all key pharmaceutical producers and distributors have participated on the professional discussion on pharmaceutical legislation. They have submitted to Ministry of Health their proposals for adjustment of the acts influencing the pharmaceutical and medical devices market. In their proposals they are mainly dealing with unsolved issues of contradiction of several laws, as well as with the facto non-enforcement of some legal standards, overall market flexibility or strengthening of patient rights.
Pharmaceutical companies will probably from October pay significantly more for issuing of the decision on the registration of human pharmaceuticals. This is provided by the newest amendment to the act on administrative fees submitted by the Ministry of Finance. According to it the registration of new pharmaceutical will cost € 9600 instead of current € 2 489. Pharmaceutical company will pay € 8 000 for the registration of known or generic pharmaceutical. Increasing of the fees for the registration of pharmaceuticals was planned also by former Government.
Minister of Health chose Adam Hlôška for the position of the head of Pharmacy and pharmaceutical policy section. She also installed him into the function of President of Categorization Committee for Pharmaceuticals. In this position he was in 2008-2010 and then he returned to the pharmaceutical company Abbot Laboratories. Former Minister of Health Ivan Uhliarik points to a possible conflict of interests. Spokeswoman of the Ministry claims that in the case of any suspicion of favouritism of some pharmaceutical company, Minister will intervene immediately.
Company Zentiva Hlohovec has greatly outraged in 2011. Its net profit amounted only € 7.55 million. Year before it was € 54.8, that is seven times less. Revenues were comparable in both years, but production costs, however, last year sharply increased. They increased from € 87 million in 2010 to € 142.8 in 2011. Producer of generics declined to comment on the reasons of the drop in his profit.
Pharmaceutical companies warn that new redistribution of pharmaceuticals from July will bring higher additional surcharges for patients. They note that while insurance companies will pay less, the surcharges of the patient might in some cases increase by 600%. Ministry of Health was surprised by the reaction of pharmaceutical companies.
Small shareholders are preparing the proposal for issuing of interim measure, which will prevent the selling of the assets of Zentiva Hlohovec. The reason is their fear that main shareholder (joint-stock company Zentiva) wants to sell Zentiva Hlohovec deeply below its price. Share of small shareholders on the fixed assets of the company is on the level of 1%. As results from the statement of small shareholders, the major shareholder allegedly obscures the facts about the sale, which has technically already started.