OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Banja Luka

 The Law on
Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices to be considered on August

The Law on Pharmaceuticals and Medical
Devices will be considered in the BiH House of Representatives next week on
Tuesday 29 August.

The adoption of this Law would bring a
series of benefits. It would help make medicines safer and cheaper. It would
guarantee access to high-quality medicines by establishing uniform conditions
for the manufacturing, testing and sale of pharmaceuticals and measures to
ensure their quality, safety and efficiency. And it would bring benefits to the
state itself by establishing a single pharmaceuticals market, supervision over
it, establishing the State regulator, and preventing unfair
competition. The Law prevents manufacturers and wholesalers from engaging
in the retail sale of prescription drugs. This protects consumers and
indirectly facilitates control over the price of pharmaceuticals.

The Law is also crucial for
implementation of the Law on prevention and suppression of the abuse of
narcotics. This is directly linked to BiH’s fulfilment of its international

At present, the BiH pharmaceuticals
market is chaotic and fragmented. Different Entity laws regulate the manufacture
and sale of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This holds back investment and
development. In addition, safeguards for public health in this sector are

The importance of the Law was recognised
by the Peace Implementation Council in its Communiqué of 23 June. More so, the
Law is considered in the context of ongoing negotiations on a Stabilisation and
Association Agreement with the European Commission.

Scare-mongering media campaigns that
attempt to portray the Law as causing chaos in the pharmaceuticals market, are
mounted by firms who wish to retain their privileged place in the market. They
have nothing to do with the protection of domestic production or health gains
for BiH citizens.

The Office of the High Representative
calls on parliamentarians to recognise the benefits this Law brings to the
country; to prioritise the public health of citizens over company’s interest;
and to adopt the Law on August 29.