This year, the Serbian Health Insurance Fund (RFZO) will spend 114,000 Euros in 2014 on acyclovir, a drug which cures viruses. In 2013, the price tag for this exact same quantity of acyclovir was 190,000 Euros.
This 40% reduction in spending on acyclovir represents just one small portion of the 25 million Euros the Serbian health care system has saved following the introduction of a new, centralized procurement method.
Until recently, Serbia had a system wherein each hospital, primary health center, and pharmacy all procured drugs individually – choosing suppliers and brands for products which addressed particular diseases. Rather than competing on price, suppliers instead competed on the amount of the “rebate” they would offer to a hospital or pharmacy. These rebates were often as much as one-third of the total purchase price.