Slovakia tightens rules to ensure patients' access to missing drugs

A system was launched in Slovakia on 1 April, which is aimed to ensure that prescribed drugs missing from a pharmacy are dispensed to patients within 48 hours, news agency TASR reported.

The new rules oblige the manufacturer and distributor of a given prescribed drug to deliver it to a pharmacy within 48 hours after a pharmacist sent them a relevant prescription. A fine of €100,000 could be imposed if they fail to do so, with the penalties growing to €1m if the situation repeats itself.

The change is part of amendments introduced to the medicinal products act in January, which are aimed to fight shortages of drugs caused by the parallel export of medicines. Thanks to the amended law, the number of reports on missing drugs is currently 11 times lower than in October, the Slovak Ministry of Health said.