The digitalisation of healthcare, which has been announced by the Government of Serbia, represents an important step towards the all-encompassing recovery of the state healthcare system and the introduction of personalised medicine. The FIC Pharmaceutical Industry Committee will provide its full contribution to all activities of the newly formed Government Working Body for Digitalisation.
It is not excessively affirmative for any of us if we come to the conclusion that it was necessary for a shock on the scale of the COVID-19 Pandemic to occur in order for us, both as individuals and as a society, to once again grasp the full importance and role of the medical profession and the healthcare system as a whole.
And that’s why, after the blow that it has suffered and endured, it seems to be the right time for the recovery of our state healthcare system, in terms of its status, value and organisation. And the Government of Serbia’s announced extensive endeavour to digitalise healthcare is precisely one of the steps in the right direction, and one that would achieve multiple goals that range from elementary ones, such as de-bureaucratisation, to the most sophisticated ones, such as the creating of conditions for the introduction of personalised medicine. Personalised medicine, which requires the comprehensive digitalisation of the healthcare system as a prerequisite, represents a new treatment paradigm and leads to improving the quality and costeffectiveness of providing health services. It is a given that the FIC Pharmaceutical Industry Committee will provide its full contribution to all activities of the Government Working Body for Digitalisation, which was formed at the start of this year.
I also wouldn’t like to pass unnoticed the important fact that the RHIF [Republic Health Insurance Fund] managed, in addition to its huge and successful efforts to ensure healthcare facilities were supplied with everything necessary for the treatment of COVID patients, in both COVID years (2020 and 2021), to implement procedures for negotiating and concluding special contracts for new, innovative medicines.
The ministries of finance and health and the RHIF, on one side, and the pharmaceutical industry, on the other, are working arduously on the creation of solutions that should maximise the availability of modern therapies from existing funds
This has already led to an increase in, or will soon increase, the availability of innovative therapies in the areas of oncology, multiple sclerosis, and probably in some other areas that are covered by medicines feature of List A and List A1.
The pharmaceutical industry, which grants significant concessions in terms of contracted prices of medicines, and the RHIF, jointly maximise the availability of modern therapies from existing funds. However, it is an objective fact that the funds of the RHIF currently intended for medicines are unable to cover the real needs of patients. It is for this reason that we are looking forward to the joint activities of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and RHIF, which should secure the stable and long-term financing of modern therapies. For such a thing to occur, it is necessary for this topic to be an integral part of the Ministry of Finance’s budget planning every year, and for RHIF funds to be subsidised by the central budget whenever the need for that arises.
It should also be noted that most of the debts owed by healthcare institutions to distributors have been repaid, although payments shouldn’t be stopped until the remaining debt has been repaid.
In the concluding section of this article, and after such a turbulent year for Serbian healthcare, I would like to present the staunch common position of all member companies of our committee that the period behind us represents the strongest argument for why the healthcare system, and all the people that comprise it, should be an absolute state priority in the period ahead of us.