The Korea Medical Clinic Association said Friday the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service allegedly gave pricing favors to two pharmaceutical firms and their arthritis treatments -- Green Cross’ Shinbaro and PMG Korea’s Layla.
The KMCA said it has demanded the Ministry of Health and Welfare cut the price of the two drugs, claiming that they were unfairly overpriced. It also said it would request the Board of Audit and Inspection to audit the HIRA, saying the health insurance review body did not fully implement the BAI’s earlier order to correct the pricing of the drugs.
The association claimed that the state auditor had notified the HIRA of its excessive pricing on the two insured joint disease drugs in July 2015, but the HIRA has not made an adjustment in pricing fully. It said the HIRA’s price cut on the two drugs was “too small.”
At the time, the BAI reviewed whether the two new herbal treatments were appropriately priced for the coverage of the national health insurance and concluded that the HIRA squandered its 14.7 billion won budget by wrongly pricing the drugs.
According to the KMCA, the price of Shinbaro should have been reduced to under 159 won (14 cents) per pill from 232 won by 31.5 percent, but it was cut to 209 won by 9.9 percent. Layla should have been reduced to 304 won by 29.8 percent but was reduced only to 411 won by 5.1 percent, the KMCA said.
Regarding the issue, the HIRA said: “our price adjustment included re-evaluating the maximum price and the pharmaceuticals’ voluntary price cut.” However, the KMCA said the HIRA’s follow-up measure was “incomprehensible.”
“The HIRA not only violated its assessment standards but did not properly carry out the BAI’s order. This made Korean people shoulder even higher medical expenses,” the KMCA said in a statement. “HIRA’s failure to follow the BAI’s order only benefited the pharmaceutical firms and damaged the Korean public. We will request a BAI’s audit on HIRA.”
The KMCA also demanded the Health and Welfare Ministry use its discretionary authority to cut the prices of Shinbaro and Layla.
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