HealthCare Business Section
The HealthCare Business Section falls under the Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group.
The HealthCare Business Section aims to:
- Correct public perception that importers are responsible for high prices of medicines
- Continue to follow issue of late payments and refund of penalties for late delivery
Mr Raymond J Vella - Chairman
Mr. David Stellini - Vice-Chairman
Mr. Reuben Demanuele
Mr. Marcel Mifsud
Mrs. Vanessa Said Salomone
Ms Johanna Calleja
BS HealthCare – Single Performance Guarantees
The Executive Committee of the HealthCare Business Section is pleased to announce that thanks to positive ongoing discussions with Central Procurement Supplies Unit, CEO Ing. Karl Farrugia and his team, the Ministry of Health, the Elderly and Community Care have approved the re-introduction of single performance guarantees at departmental level.
In the ast week of June, the CPSU circulated letters to suppliers offering them an option to open a Single Performance Guarantee against departmental supply contracts. Suppliers who have been issuing numerous performance guarantees for individual contracts, now have an opportunity to reduce the drain on their overdraft to sustain such guarantees.
The Executive Committee is committed to pursue further negotiations such that a similar system is implemented also on Department of Contracts supply contracts in the foreseeable future.
Press Releases issued
During 2010 the Executive Committee met on sixteen occasions. Four extraordinary general meetings were held in order to inform members, obtain feedback and approval on initiatives being taken by the Executive Committee.
One such initiative was the recruitment on a retainer basis of Dr. Anthia Zammit. Dr. Zammit specialises in Pharmaceutical Law. Her role is to monitor local media for articles or press releases which directly concern the section and respond in a timely and effective manner; to keep a constant watch on any forthcoming changes to local and EU legislation which may have implications on the operations of members and prompt suggestions on how the section is to react; attend Business Section Committee Meetings; issue regular monthly write ups or articles on local media addressing aspects of interest in health care but with the objective to influence and improve the image of the section members with the general public and keep an eye on events being organised locally, attendance to which may be beneficial to the section. Dr. Zammit’s fee is being funded through contributions from members.
Another development was the decision to invite four section members to participate in the work of the Executive Committee. The contribution of these members has been particularly important at a time when the pricing of medicines was the main issue.
Working Committee on the Pricing of Medicine Products
The Chairman, Mr. Raymond J. Vella represented the Section on the Working Committee on the Pricing of Medicine Products (WCPMP). The Committee is chaired by the Hon. Dr. Chris Said, Parliamentary Secretary for Consumers, Fair Competition, Local Councils and Public Dialogue. Working closely with a representative from the Pharma Manufacturers Business Section and PRIMA a number of proposals were presented to the WCPMP. The objective of the WCPMP was to obtain a reduction in the price of medicines. Distributors of certain products were contacted by the Consumer and Competition Division requesting that they obtain lower prices.
In return Government had undertaken to review the formulary with the intention of adding new innovative drugs and also to consider the introduction of a reimbursement scheme. In July a number of new oncology drugs were in fact added to the formulary. However it had to be pointed out there were hundreds of new pending products which would be beneficial to the general public; that changes in the formulary were required for outpatients, hospital care and also in protocol and that the response time for products to be added to the formulary stipulated by the EU was 180 days.
The WCPMP has also discussed the mechanism for pricing of medicinals.
The Executive Committee studied the new tender conditions and submitted a number of comments and recommendations to the Director of Contracts. The comments were gathered from members and compiled into one submission. A meeting with the Director of Contracts was also held on this topic.
Late Payments Directive
The Executive Committee welcomed the latest recast of the Late Payments Directive from the European Parliament proposed that public entities reduced their payment time to within 30 days although 60 days would be acceptable. This has to be referred to the Council of Ministers and each member state has two years in which to transpose this directive. It had been noted that in the Government Budget for 2011, Hon. Mr. Tonio Fenech, Minister of Finance, Investment and the Economy confirmed that medicine importers would receive payments within 120 days.
In order to present the views of the Business Section, the Chairman, Mr. Raymond J. Vella was interviewed by Vanessa MacDonald. The interview appeared on the Di-ve website. Mr. Vella also participated in the post-budget Dialogue Meeting organised by the Malta Chamber with Hon. Mr. Tonio Fenech.