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From January 1, 2012, in accordance with the new reimbursement act, pharmacies are required to issue, at the patient's request, a cheaper equivalent of a refunded drug that the doctor prescribed on the prescription (if any). In addition, pharmacies are obliged to inform buyers about the possibility of making such a switch.

Although the obligation to provide information about the cheapersubstitutealready existed before, it was imposed onpharmacy . Now thepharmacistdispensing the drug will apply.

The pharmacist must personally provide the patient with the information about the cheaper alternative

So far, pharmacies have posted an advertisement in a prominent place stating that the patient has the right to cheaper substitutes for drugs, now the pharmacist is to convey this information to each patient orally. Stanisław Piechula, vice-president of the Silesian Regional Pharmaceutical Chamber in Katowice, is concerned that the National He alth Fund will send its inspectors to pharmacies, whose task will be to check whether each patient is informed by the pharmacist about the existing substitutes for drugs that have been prescribed to them.

For failure to comply with this obligation, the National He alth Fund has the right to punish the owner of the pharmacy with the amount of PLN 200. Such a pen alty may be imposed for each case revealed and confirmed during the inspection. Such procedure is provided for in the ordinance of the minister of he alth on the general terms and conditions of contracts for the implementation of prescriptions and the framework model of this contract (Journal of Laws No. 271, item 1606), which entered into force on December 16.

Another stamp on the prescription

Pharmacists, in order to avoid pen alties for filling the prescription for an expensive drug, consider the possibility of putting a stamp on the back of the prescription, which will indicate that they informed the patient about the availability of a cheaper alternative. The National He alth Fund does not know yet how the enforcement of such sanctions will look like in practice. Lawyers warn that this may be a dead law, because it is impossible to verify on the basis of the documents available at the pharmacy whether the pharmacist has offered to switch the drug.


Lawyers inform that it is practically impossible to enforce the pen alty, because the pharmacist must be guilty of not fulfilling the obligation, and for this purpose, the parties should be interviewed and witnesses. For this purpose, the National He alth Fundshould send his inspector to each pharmacy.

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