Sales Promotion And Equal Access To Health Services – Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences



Czech Republic:

Sales Promotion And Equal Access To Health Services


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In cooperation with some private medical clinics that belong to
the same group of companies Czech Republic´s Prime
Minister’s Trust Fund, Internet news server iDnes offered
preferential orders and appointments for certain medical
examinations or procedures as the main enticement for those who
would subscribe to annual subscription of the news server, using a
motto “Buy yourself a health for Christmas”.

As part of the benefit for subscribers, tests for COVID-19, MRI,
above-standard ultrasonic tests or surgical and orthopedic
operations were offered. However, some of these procedures are
largely covered by public health insurance and, for example, people
usually wait for hip or knee surgery for a year.

Equal access to health services (covered by public health
insurance) for all is one of the main principles of the public
health insurance system in the Czech Republic. This principle is
ensured at the constitutional level by the Charter of Fundamental
Rights and Freedoms and further specified, for example, in the Act
on Health Services and Conditions of their Provision or in the
Anti-Discrimination Act. The legal regulations contain
exhaustive list of situations in which a health care provider may
refuse to accept a patient into care, or, with regard to the
capacity of the facility and the patient’s health condition,
set a reasonable waiting time. In other words, it is forbidden for
the health care provider to reject the insured person without a
reason, or make acceptance or priority treatment conditional to any
financial payment (e.g. purchase of an annual subscription to the
news server).

In this case, iDnes used the immoral factor of the current fear
for health as part of the sales promotion of its subscription, and
it would probably have worked out unless the legal regulations had
not been fundamentally violated. In the case of preferential
treatment of subscribers, the medical facility would in fact breach
the law, for which they could not only be fined, but the health
insurance company could and should terminate its contract with such
facility. The reason is that the respective regulation contains a
provision according to which it is not possible to lessen the
availability of health care for insured persons because of the fact
that they do not pay any extra fees. In such a case, iDnes would
commit deceptive advertising, because it would not be able to
ensure the priority treatment in medical facilities.

The entire campaign immediately became the subject of debates
over suspected violations of the principles of public health
insurance, including equal access to health care. iDnes therefore
quickly adjusted its campaign – medical procedures are still
offered with benefits, however, according to iDnes, they are no
longer offered as priority treatment. Unfortunately, iDnes or
medical clinics involved in the campaign were not subject to
further investigation in this matter at all.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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