HÀ NỘI - The national centralised bidding for 20 types of drugs covered by health insurance has helped save VNĐ251.13 billion (US$10.9 million) on drugs, said Dương Tuấn Đức, director of the Centre for Health Insurance Appraisal and Multi-level Payments in the North under Việt Nam Social Security.
The total price of 20 bid-winning drugs was VNĐ935.99 billion ($40.7 million), down 21.12 per cent compared to the average drug bidding price of last year.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Việt Nam Social Security invited bids to select 2018’s drug suppliers of five active substances with total value of more than VNĐ1 trillion ($43.5 million).
Five patent medicines and 15 types of generic drugs won the bidding.
The bidding helped reduce drug prices by 13.82 per cent on average for patented medicines and 33.81 per cent for generic drugs compared to the prices of provincial bidding in 2017.
Among the five winning patent medicines, the prices of Meropenem 500mg and Meropenem 1g experienced the biggest plunge (15 per cent).
Notably, price of domestically-manufactured Levofloxacin 500mg (generic) of group 3 (manufactured following the World Health Organisation’s Good manufacturing practice) plunged by 54.7 per cent.
The centralised bidding shattered the concept that patented drugs are exclusive and their prices never fall, Đức said.
In the first ever national trial centralised drug bidding, the Việt Nam Social Security worked with the ministries of planning and investment, health, finance, local health departments and healthcare facilities covered by health insurance, Đức said.
Bidding winners committed to ensuring drug quality and supply to serve patients, he said.
Through the bidding, Việt Nam Social Security contributed to removing inappropriate drug bidding plans and identifying abnormally high drug prices, as well as differences in content and prices of drug groups.
Việt Nam Social Security asked bidders to show documents to prove their drug supply commitment. The agency will supervise drug supply and use them at healthcare facilities via the health insurance supervision information system.
Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy director general of the Việt Nam Social Security, said that the bidding was conducted successfully, following regulations, ensuring transparency.
“National drug bidding brings advantages to not only Việt Nam Social Security but also public and healthcare facilities,” he said.
He said that the bidding has fulfilled two goals. The first is to ensure enough drugs of high quality. The second one is to reduce drug prices, especially the price of patent medicines.
If there is anything found not transparent and open in the bidding process, those responsible will be fined without exception, he said. - VNS