The Mongolian Vice Minister of Health, Byambsuren Lamjav, met with a hera team in October to discuss ongoing work on improving access to affordable medicines in public hospitals in Mongolia. hera is providing technical assistance to the new government under an Asian Development Bank cooperative project.
Despite impressive progress in public procurement, hospital care, and medicines regulation, medicines prices in Mongolia are still among the highest in Asia, while the quality of medicines available remains low. The Government of Mongolia (GOM) and the project team have identified the following three key strategies to make quality medicines affordable and accessible:
1.The introduction of pooled procurement of medicines for public hospitals using framework agreements. The resulting economy-of-scale will increase interest of the international market and competition. This will lead to prices that are comparable to international benchmarks. Application of strict terms and conditions will ensure that contracts are conducted with suppliers and manufacturers whose operations comply with the required quality standards.
2. Reorganization of hospital operated pharmacies to supply medicines for outpatients; open pharmacies for outpatients will improve the quality of care and make lower-priced quality medicines available and easy to access. The increased competition in the country may also cause private pharmacies to improve their services.
3. Strengthening medicines regulatory system to ensure that decisions on quality, safety and efficacy of medicines will be made independently, based on scientific evidence, restoring confidence in the quality of the medicines on the market.
The project will run until the end of 2018 with a goal of decreasing prices for the 10 most used generic medicines in public hospitals by at least 30 percent, ensuring that generic medicines are widely available, and a public information system for drug safety is in place.