Background: To assess progress in improving affordability of medicines since the introduction of mandatory health insurance in the Republic of Moldova.
Method: Using data from national health insurance, we estimate affordability of partially reimbursed medicines for the treatment of non-communicable diseases, and analyse which factors contributed to changes in affordability.
Results: Affordability of subsidized medicines improved over time. In 2013, it took a median of 0.84 days of income for the lowest income quintile (ranging from 0 to 3.32 days) to purchase 1 month of treatment for cardiovascular conditions in comparison to 1.85 days in 2006. This improvement however was mainly driven by higher incomes rather than deeper coverage through the reimbursement list.
Conclusion: If mandatory health insurance is to improve affordability of medicines for the Moldovan population, more funds need to be (re-)allocated to enable higher percentage coverage of essential medicines and efficiencies need to be generated within the health system. These should include a budget reallocation between secondary and primary care, strengthening primary care to manage chronic conditions and raise population awareness, implementation of evidence-based selection and quality use of medicines in both outpatient and inpatient settings, improving monitoring and regulation of prices and the supply chain; and alignment of national treatment guidelines and clinical practice with international best practices and evidence-based medicine.