The integration of emergency services with other types of health system activities is absolutely necessary, as “these do not work separately,” Health Minister Alexandru Rafila told a news conference on Thursday, held at the Bucharest-Ilfov Ambulance Service (SABIF) headquarters.
“I am glad that we have professional partners in the Department of Emergency Situations. There is Dr. Arafat, who has been dealing with this for the last 30 years, but obviously we are talking about a medical activity and the responsibility – both before health professionals abroad, and in the eyes of the public opinion – belongs with the Ministry of Health. They are our partners, SMURD is a structure of DSU that has done its job very well. I will always thank them publicly for everything they have done and for what they are doing, but the integration of emergency services with the other services they offer, pre-hospital emergency services or emergency reception units or emergency departments with the other types of health system activities is absolutely necessary, because they do not work separately. They must function in an integrated way, and this must be a health policy of the Romanian state, which must not take into account the persons who hold, at one time or another,, a position of public dignity in these fields, but must take into account the need of the people in Romania to benefit from health services. I wouldn’t want what I said to be interpreted in any way,” Rafila said, according to Agerpres.
He said he publicly acknowledged the merits of DSU head Raed Arafat, who had done an “excellent” job in organizing emergency medical services, but that they “should be integrated” at the level of the Ministry of Health.
Ministry’s drug pricing policy should be revised
Health Minister Alexandru Rafila declared on also Thursday that the Ministry’s drug pricing policy should be revised, pointing out that Romania’s 20 drug manufacturers bring in 1.5 percent of GDP.
“It is very clear that the current economic mechanism is not functional enough as to render the production of generic drugs attractive. Let us not forget that 1.5 percent of Romania’s GDP comes from the 20 generic drug manufacturers that exist in our country. The Romanian state owns just one of them, all the others are privately-held, with Romanian and foreign shareholders – this doesn’t matter after all. They operate in Romania and that’s good, but obviously we must ensure the functioning of this industry that contributes a significant share of GDP. I believe the Health Ministry’s pricing policy should be revised to a certain extent, because we are in a paradoxical situation. Seeking savings, we end up paying more money by this very simple mechanism: we keep cutting prices for certain drugs that disappear from the market and which are the cheapest, they are no longer distributed so that the next drug on the list comes into use, which is much more expensive. At the end of the day we pay more, instead of less money. It is clear that we need to find an adequate mechanism here,” Rafila told the national conference ‘Health Alert! How to Remove Barriers to Patients’ Access to Medicines’.
He pointed out that a quick solution must be found to allow the population’s access to generic medicines.