Ana Govedarica, General Manager gave interview for FIC Guide 2020.
1. The issues of the economy and health have never previously been so closely connected. Which topics would you suggest as being the most important for you to help the Government respond to the challenges of economic recovery related to human health?
A: Investments in healthcare cannot be decreased despite expected economical challenges, on the contrary, they must be greater than ever. This pandemic has shown how important is to to have resilient and efficient healthcare system and how much society is sensitive unless it doesn't work right. It is well known that additional investments in securing more efficient treatment are bringing serious savings. Analysis of of even middle developed countries have shown justification of investment into brand bew therapy, despite the fact that initial costs might seem big. Simply, every investment in an efficient healthcare system returns to society through multiple benefits and in other places inside of health care system and beyond it.
The balance between investing into infrastructure and new therapies need to be introduced as soon as possible, especially because innovative medicines, as well as the development of new flexible & dynamic financing models based on treatment outcomes will significantly improve patient’s lives. For example, if healthcare fund pays to producer only for those medicines that gave an expected positive effect there is no risk for payer. Also, investments should be directed where the benefit for patients is the greatest.
2. How satisfied are you with the progress achieved in the activities of the FIC working group with the Government of Serbia, which deals with the implementation of recommendations contained in previous editions of the FIC White Book? What motivated you to include the health minister in consultations?
A: FIC recognized pharma industry as important stakeholder in the healthcare system and as a result Pharma Industry Committee was established. The main aim of this sectoral Committee is to promote the needed reforms of the health sector, health insurance and advocate for the full harmonization of legislation with the EU and removing legislative obstacles. Main priorities defined in the Committee programme for 2018-2020 are: Allocation of additional financial resources for new drugs/indications reimbursements; Clear reimbursement criteria setting coupled with transparent decision-making process based upon them and completed within legislation determined timelines; ALIMS to accelerate and simplify drug registration; Active participation in changes of the relevant laws and bylaws. The positive trend is introduction of Manage Entry Agreements between the NHIF and pharmaceutical companies, quantification of funds required to place new medicines on the Reimbursement List, in the process of the normative resolution of the issue of debts owed by some state institutions.
What is crucial for the upcoming period is steady funding for medicines while expanding the indications through a special-purpose transfer of budget funds to NHIF and resolving the issue of settling old debts towards wholesalers.
Intense communication with authorities in the preparation of the White Book is of great importance because by exchanging information we are coming to realistic solutions based on facts.
By including the Minister of Health into this process, we have noticed state’s greater understanding and greater efficiency for the difficulties that should be solved.
3. How will the experience gained by companies in organising work during the Covid-19 impact on the FIC's action plans in the period ahead?
A: Working in the conditions of pandemics has defined a new „normal“. Accordingly with it, FIC must adapt its plans to new needs and companie's challenges, but also to develop some skills like working on virtual platforms, changes in communication, business organization…
4. Which essential topics related to reforms should be addressed again in order to improve the resilience of the national economy against new challenges coming from the internal and external markets?
A: In COVID-19 and postCOVID-19 world better healthcare systems are important more than ever. The main thing which state have to deal with in the following period is digitalisation and data. The whole future is centered around data which will bring us to the efficient healthcare.
When it comes to pharma industry it is of great importance that state defines its needs and plans as soon as possible, to show in what way they expect help and support... This is additionally important if it is known that the majority of the pharmaceutical industry operates within large international companies, so it is important for local teams to set priorities for Serbia as soon as possible and as clearly as possible.
At the same time, it is crucial to maintain and increase the transparency of the process of medicine supply, as well as the stability of payments to suppliers.
5. Are you satisfied with the quality of the public dialogue linked to the crisis and what do you see as the FIC's greatest contribution in this regard?
A: Covid-19 has put the entire world in an evitable situation. When you have to walk through fog, mistakes and poor assesments are possible. Therefore, the public dialogue is of utmost importance in order to make better community for al of us.
The FIC can contribute by pointing out threats and opportunities, as well as by transferring experiences that companies have gained in other markets.
6. Considering the FIC's experience in working with the government, what would you recommend to the new cabinet when it comes to cooperating with the business community?
A: Intensive dialogue between the Government and business communities is the only way to create an efficient business climate that will contribute to the growth of entire society.