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Discount agreements: AOK strengthens requirements for drug stocks

2021-10-22T14:59:54.946Z

The AOK Baden-Württemberg has rejected criticism that there is always a shortage of drugs because of so-called discount agreements. According to its own information, the health insurance company checks the manufacturer's ability to deliver before placing the order. These are contractually obliged to have preparations available in sufficient quantities. "As a result of the corona pandemic, the AOK community has once again significantly strengthened this requirement."



The AOK Baden-Württemberg has rejected criticism that there is always a shortage of drugs because of so-called discount agreements.

According to its own information, the health insurance company checks the manufacturer's ability to deliver before placing the order.

These are contractually obliged to have preparations available in sufficient quantities.

"As a result of the corona pandemic, the AOK community has once again significantly strengthened this requirement."

Stuttgart - Companies would now have to create permanent reserves for three months as a safeguard against production or delivery failures.

"This inventory may only be used up in the last quarter of the contract," explained the spokesman on Friday in Stuttgart.

In this way, delivery bottlenecks would be absorbed and supply bottlenecks avoided.

Since 2007 statutory health insurances have been allowed to conclude supply contracts with pharmaceutical companies that often offer discounts. In the case of interchangeable medicinal products, pharmacies are obliged to give preference to corresponding contractual products from the respective health insurance company. According to the AOK spokesman, it is primarily about so-called generics, ie "imitation products" that can also be manufactured by other pharmaceutical companies after the patent protection for the original preparation has expired. AOK Baden-Württemberg is the nationwide negotiator for the AOK.

The chairman of the board of directors of the North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Frank Bergmann, criticized on Friday that the model of discount contracts repeatedly meant that some drugs were sometimes unavailable in pharmacies for weeks. He justified this with the fact that pharmaceutical manufacturers who do not get a chance in an advertised discount agreement would shut down production for the corresponding preparation.

“If the original exclusive supplier then fails at short notice, no alternative manufacturer can usually deliver promptly in large quantities and compensate for the failure. Result: The patients have to wait and in many cases suffer, ”said Bergmann. He emphasized: "This discount madness is not just about some special drugs, but about those that many sick people urgently need." As an example, he cites drugs for high blood pressure, Parkinson's and antidepressants.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have repeatedly blamed price and discount pressure for delivery bottlenecks, among other things.

The AOK emphasized, however, according to its own surveys two years ago, the proportion of available preparations of more than 9,000 funds, for which the AOK had concluded discount agreements, was 99.7 percent.

"Conclusion: The pharmaceutical discount contracts strengthen the consistent security of supply for patients and provide pharmaceutical manufacturers with planning security."

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The contracts are also the only instrument that statutory health insurance companies can use to control spending on medication.

The spokesman said that the prices for generics have fallen noticeably.

“Our policyholders benefit from this primarily.” Dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-10-22

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