• After the moratorium on prices 112 over-the-counter medicines have become more expensive

    October 14, 2014

    Among them are some of the best-selling medications for pain, flu and allergies.

    The result of the imposed antimarket one year moratorium on the increase of prices of the over-the-counter medicines is that at the end of the moratorium some of them logically have increased. A total of 112 medicines had price increases in the short window between April and early August this year, when the moratorium was not in effect, became evident from the statement of the National Council on prices and reimbursement of medicines.

    The previous caretaker government froze the prices of the over-the-counter medicines as a social measure – till April 2014. At the end of her mandate Tanya Andreeva, however, decided to prolongate the moratorium – from 8th of August till the end of the year.


    As the experts in the sector warned a year ago, immediately after the suspension of the moratorium in April the prices of some of the medicines increased because during this period their production costs increased or because the manufacturers begun to equalize the prices of the medicines with those in other European countries. Until last year, the government had not intervened on the market of over-the-counter medicines – medications for headache, pain, flu, cold, cough or rash, vitamins, because it is not covering with funds from health insurance fund any part of them. This market is worth BGN 356 million at BGN 2.3 billion total market of medicines and their sales do not affect public spending on prescription medicines of chronically ill of BGN 1.5 million. And there are the high costs of medicines that can not be rolled over, as prices here are the lowest in the EU and the public funds for the sick poor are insufficient. Thus the moratorium was perceived as a populist measure which will not be felt particularly by the users. The reason is that the market of over-the-counter drugs is extremely competitive and the producers usually sell them well below the maximum registered price, as in group compete at least 10-15 medicines of the same group. As anticipated after the suspension followed rise in prices.

    It feels like much more

    According to the Council on prices the average increase in the prices of these medicines was 26%, but in most cases we are talking about pennies. Moreover, because of the huge competition these products are not sold at the maximum possible price. The Council on prices comments that the medicines with increased prices are only 7.4% of all over-the-counter medicines – a total of 1544 total products. Thus the price increase for the noted period relative to all over-the-counter medicines is only 2%. For example, the Chairman of the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union prof. Ilko Getov estimated some days ago that it comes to an average increase of 3-4%. The 112 medicines with new prices are among the best-selling and obviously the feeling is for a more wide scale rise. Among the medicines with increased prices are some popular preparations against influenza.

    Why are they with new prices?

    A year ago, the manufacturers were allowed to register a new price twice a year. Now this opportunity is once a year and with the rate of inflation. Since this is a free market, the companies can take into account the increase in production and marketing costs, electricity prices and other. In this way the companies explain the increase, adding that in addition to the increased production costs, the marketing costs for the country have also increased.