“For a comparative analysis, the conversion of producer prices from other currencies in lei will be carried by taking the exchange rate used in budget planning for 2010,” reads the order issued by the Ministry of Health.

Drug prices are thus expected to increase, should the local currency remain weak against euro and US dollar. Last year, drug prices have been set at an exchange rate of 4lei/euro, a level below full-year average rate of 4.23lei/euro.

Under the new order, generic drugs (drugs produced and distributed without patent protection) will have a price equivalent to 70% of the brand name counterpart (drug that has patent protection); in 2009, generics prices were set at 65% of the original formulation.

So far, drug prices in Romania were determined by taking the prices in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Greece and Germany.