Why can't many people in Bulgaria afford medication?

In partnership with The European Commission
Why can't many people in Bulgaria afford medication?
Copyright euronews
By Julian GOMEZ
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Euronews speaks to Nikolay Kostov, the president of the Bulgarian Pharmacists' Association about his country's pharmaceutical concerns.

Nikolay Kostov owns 14 pharmacies and employs 350 people around Bulgaria. He is also the President of the Bulgarian Pharmacists Association. 

He is well aware that many of the patients coming to his pharmacies can't always afford all the medicines they need.

The problem is widespread in Bulgaria, where almost one in five respondents in a recent poll said they can't pay for all the medicines they require.

Nikolay says the singularity of the Bulgarian market requires European teamwork and resolve.

"The situation in Bulgaria is very specific because there are many people who buy their medicines on the open market, outside the Health Insurance Fund (NHIF)." 

Woman pays at the counter in a Bulgarian pharmacyEuronews

"In Western Europe, this isn't the case because everybody buys through the insurance fund or the private insurance, it depends on the system. 

"In Bulgaria, there are at least twice as many prescription drugs sold outside the Health Insurance Fund, and this is also a big problem for people.”

Watch the full video in the player above

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