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Accessibility to new and effective medicine in Latvia is the poorest in Europe

In terms of accessibility and compensation of new and effective medicine, Latvia is on the last place among EU member states, according to Patients W.A.I.T. Indicator published by European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations at the end of April. According to the study, patients’ accessibility and state compensation for new medicine in Europe varies from country to country. It is the highest in Western European countries and the lowest in Central and Eastern European countries. EFPIA study shows that Latvia compensates only 9 of 112 new types of medicine approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The study puts Latvia on the last place among other 26 European countries. For most EU member states, the decision of EMA is a point of reference to include new types of medicine to their state compensated medicines system. Unfortunately, it is not the same for Latvia. This situation shows that Latvia have an insufficient budget for compensation of medicines. Very rarely do Latvian officials take into account therapeutic efficacy criteria. The best accessibility of new medicines in Europe is found in Austria, Germany, Denmark and UK. In general, patients have access to 97 new state-compensated medicines. Better accessibility to modern medicines is also found in Latvia’s neighbouring countries: Lithuania compensates 30 new medicines and Estonia compensates 19. More effective therapy is also provided in small countries like Slovenia and Czech Republic, where the number of state-compensated medicines in each is 55 and 44. Bulgaria also has better situation with state-compensated medicines – 45 types. «This data also points to a certain negative trend – Latvia falls more and more behind other European countries in terms of securing accessibility to new medicines for its residents. It is behind not only rich countries but also countries with similar economies to its own and even less-developed countries,» says International Research Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association chairperson Anda Blumberga. «Of course, it is possible to ignore advancements in medicine and just keep using medicines created 20 or more years ago, which is something Latvia actively does. But the fight with serious diseases is only possible with new and more effective medicines,» she notes. Blumberga adds: «On top of that, it is definitely worth taking into account that before commencing compensation of aforementioned medicines, the economic effect from it was carefully analysed by economic experts. The enormous budget deficit for medicines basically makes new medicines inaccessible for Latvian residents. This is a major loss for patients, the state and society in general.»