BEIRUT — The Director General of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Mohammad Karaki announced during a Beirut press conference on Thursday that the institution will increase the prices of 677 refundable drugs, which represents a quarter of the 3,000 medications it currently recognizes.
The measure, which will come into effect on June 20, will automatically increase the amounts covered by the NSSF for each of the drugs concerned.
According to Karaki, the prices of listed generics, which were still calculated based on the old official rate of 1,507.5 Lebanese Lira per dollar, will be multiplied by 15. The prices of other generic drugs will be multiplied by 12.
"This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis that the NSSF has adjusted these prices, even though they have already been updated for some time by the Ministry of Health," confirmed Mohammad Karaki to L'Orient-Le Jour.
With this adjustment, the average refund range of the NSSF will be between "40 and 50 percent" for all 3,000 prescriptions, which mainly include treatments for serious, incurable and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The cost of the measure has been estimated at LL1,154 billion (12.4 million dollars, considering a market rate of LL93,000 per dollar). The NSSF expects to receive LL8,365 billion (nearly 90 million dollars) resulting from the increase in the minimum wage that came into effect last month.
The institution also relies on the increase in the salary ceiling used as a basis for calculating social security contributions to the NSSF's health and maternity branch. This ceiling could soon be set at LL18 million per employee through a decree.
While the Lebanese Lira began to depreciate since the start of the crisis in late 2019, it was only after the late adoption of the state budget last November that public institutions began to reflect this depreciation. The new official rate was set at LL15,000 in February, far from the actual value of the currency.