Reforms in Albania's Pharmaceutical Sector Can Contribute to Increasing Equitable Access to Medicines and Rationalizing Expenditures

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July 16, 2014

TIRANA, July 16, 2014 – The World Bank and the Ministry of Health organized today a technical workshop on reforming the pharmaceutical sector in Albania.  Participants in the event included the Minister of Health Ilir Beqaj, the World Bank Country Manager for Albania Tahseen Sayed, managerial and technical staff from the Ministry of Health, Health Insurance Fund, Drug Laboratory Control Agency, representatives from the development partners, and associations involved in the sector.

The findings and recommendations of a recently conducted “Review of Albania’s Pharmaceutical Policy” were presented by the World Bank technical expert.  The Technical Paper presents an initial review, analysis and recommendations for the sector in Albania while also learning from reform experiences of other countries. The key areas highlighted include the importance of reforming the pharmaceutical sector in order to rationalize expenditures, improve reimbursement decision making and increase equitable access to medicines.  The Paper recommends rational spending on medicines as this contributes to the well-being of citizenry while maintaining an appropriate level of fiscal control. 

Other key findings indicate that (i) in comparison to other Western Balkan countries, Albania has high potential of reducing prices of medicines; (ii) constraints in pharmaceutical supply remain a major obstacle to achieving substantial reductions on medicine prices leading to inequitable supply to the population and medicine shortages in hospitals; and (iii) phased implementation of a regulatory framework addressing both demand and supply side issues can begin to improve the existing distortions.   

“The Albanian Government is embarking on health sector reforms for improving the efficiency and quality of hospital services which the World Bank will be supporting under an upcoming Health Reform Project,” said the World Bank Country Manager for Albania Tahseen Sayed. “It is encouraging that the Ministry of Health, in its efforts to ensure equitable access to quality care, is also initiating a reform of the pharmaceutical sector as a part of its overall sector reforms“.

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