By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan's price regulator, Tariff Council, will set prices for medicine, Deputy Health Minister Elsevar Agayev said Thursday.
Agayev told journalists that the Health Ministry jointly with the Economic Development Ministry is working to apply a single price for medicine.
In the near future work on applying a single price will be accelerated, he said. After introducing this system, a single price will be applied to all medicine. First of all, it will be applied to vital and more important medicine, and then to other medicine.
"Medicine, as in Europe, will have a single price. Regardless of the country's region, medicine will be sold for the same price everywhere. Wholesale and pharmaceutical enterprises will have a certain interest in this case," Agayev added.
The deputy minister added that this issue will be regulated by legislation. For this purpose, the countries with the cheapest and quality medicines will be selected as a model and their experience will be studied.
"The cost of medicine in pharmacies was the main issue, which for many years faced the healthcare sector of the country. In many countries, including European ones, a single price is applied for medicine, but since this practice wasn't used in the neighboring countries, we had some difficulties in this regard," Agayev said.
The Azerbaijani Health Ministry also appealed to television companies and relevant organizations in connection with medicine advertising.
Agayev said that in accordance with the laws On Advertising, On Pharmaceutical Activity and On Medicine, advertising of medicine available without a prescription is possible in case permission is granted by the Health Ministry.
"But there are deficiencies in this field," he said. "Turning to relevant entities, TV channels, the Health Ministry states that without permission of the authorities such kind of advertisement should not be displayed. In addition, hospitals can also promote themselves only within the law."
According to Agayev, a parliamentary committee is discussing changes to the Law On Medicine, which envisions restrictions for the commercials with private clinics.
"Sometimes hospitals invite to the country foreign specialists without permission of the Health Ministry and the State Migration Service. This is unacceptable. Private medical facilities do not differ from state hospitals. All the conditions are created for them. They must also abide by the rules. The Health Ministry wants to see this issue resolved under the law," Agayev said.
Besides, the deputy health minister said that information circulated in mass media regarding instances threatening public health reported in the medical institutions of Azerbaijan will be scrutinized by a special commission established by the Health Ministry.
He said that earlier, some amendments were made to the Regulations of the Health Ministry in accordance with the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan.
"Article 9 of the Regulations sets out the rights of the ministry. According to the regulations, the Health Ministry is entrusted to control the activities of medical facilities in case of a threat to human life," Agayev noted.
He said that commissions of the ministry are also looking into the facts regarding the discontent over medical care in state-run institutions, as well as appeals to the Prosecutor General's Office by citizens seeking to punish those guilty.