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On this page you will find news articles that relate to the CEE Ahead project.
Date: 11 April 2011
The Hungarian government plans to raise taxes on pharmaceutical companies while cutting drug subsidies. The tax rate on drug companies’ revenue will increase from 12% to 18%. Cholesterol drugs and drugs with multiple active ingredients will receive lower subsidies. In addition, the government will promote generic drugs and double the annual fee for pharmaceutical sales representatives. These changes will save around $98 million.
Date: 10 April 2011
Bulgaria plans to reform its public health care payments system. Health minister Stefan Konstantinov said, “Presently, many general practitioners are compelled to exaggerate the condition of many of their patients so as to obtain sufficient financing.” The new system, to be introduced next year, will cover a much broader range of conditions so doctors no longer have to modify their diagnoses to receive funding. It will also prioritise treatment of patients with critical conditions.
Date: 07 April 2011
Although Estonia provides free health insurance to all residents, 82,000 Estonians (6% of the population) still lack health insurance. Estonia provides health insurance regardless of employment status, but a non-working resident must register as unemployed or as a welfare recipient to receive coverage. Government officials estimate that 28,000 of the uninsured are actually working abroad.
Date: 05 April 2011
Health minister Attila Cseke announced that the Romanian government has ended state funding for 60 hospitals. Seven other hospitals will be converted into elderly care homes, with funding from the Labour Ministry rather than the Health Ministry. The annual budgets of all 67 hospitals total €42 million.
Date: 31 March 2011
The Hungarian government is considering a “public health surcharge” on unhealthy foods to simultaneously deal with the country’s public health and budgetary issues. Hungary’s Resources Ministry said the tax will not affect basic foods, only foods high in calories, saturated fat, or carbohydrates. The tax could generate $243 million-$2.1 billion as the government seeks new revenue to fund salaries for health care workers.
Date: 31 March 2011
Austerity measures in Eastern European countries have prompted doctors to relocate to Western Europe. In 2010, the number of Hungarian physicians seeking to work outside their country increased 25% over 2009 levels. The number of Romanian doctors seeking to work elsewhere nearly doubled after the government cut doctor salaries by 13%. Meanwhile, Bulgaria is losing 1200 nurses per year, worsening an already severe shortage of medical professionals.
Date: 25 March 2011
In 2010, a total of 83,200 Lithuanian residents emigrated, a near fourfold increase over 2009. Government data shows that the increase in emigration was triggered by the introduction of a compulsory sickness insurance requirement (6% of their salaries) for permanent residents. Some people may have switched their permanent residence from Lithuania to a different country to avoid the requirement. The UK and Ireland received the most Lithuanian emigrants.
Date: 18 March 2011
Differences in life expectancy between Eastern and Western Europe persist, according to a recent report in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Thus, while life expectancy has risen in western and central European countries such as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, former Soviet countries have made less progress. The report’s author David Leon attributed the relatively low life expectancy in the former Soviet Union to high levels of hazardous drinking.
Date: 17 March 2011
A recent poll identified Bulgarians’ concerns over the health care system and their own health. A majority of Bulgarians believe their country lacks medical equipment for early diagnosis. Respondents identified lack of funding, corruption, and doctors’ incompetency as major problems in the Bulgarian health care system. In addition, half of respondents say their own health is at risk. Bulgaria’s National Statistics Institute reports a 51% death rate from heart disease and a 28% death rate from cancer.
Date: 17 March 2011
A World Bank report finds that several Bulgarian households have reduced medical spending because of the global financial crisis. In 2009, 28% of Bulgarian households reported being directly impacted by the country’s jobs crisis. Of those affected, 36% of households in the poorest income quintile and 7% in the highest income quintile stopped buying regular medications. Similarly, 22% of poor crisis-affected households and 5% of the rich reported not visiting the doctor when ill.