In the first installment of interviews with our internationally ranked lawyers, we talked to DR&G partner Mr. Milos Pandzic. The focus of our conversation was the newly adopted legislation on health protection in Serbia.
- Mr. Pandzic, a new Law on Health Protection has been adopted. To what extent affect the Serbian healthcare system?
MP: The new law certainly improves and modernizes the healthcare system in Serbia. Especially since the old law had been adopted more than a decade ago, which is a lot of time for a dynamic sphere such as healthcare.
Also, I believe that the new law introduces significant incentives not only for the public sector, but also for the private sector in the area of healthcare.
- What would you emphasize as the most important novelties introduced by this new Law?
â€‹MP: One such novelty is the establishment of a Register of Healthcare Institutions, which will become operational in October next year. Currently, healthcare providers are registered with commercial courts, and such registration does not enable much transparency.
Also, the new law explicitly expressly sets limits on donations in the healthcare sphere. An entity that wishes to participate as a bidder in a healthcare institution’s public procurement procedure must not give donations to a person who, for example, takes part in deciding on awarding the contract.
As another novelty, the new law is more liberal with respect to the advertisement of healthcare providers. Now, such institutions can advertise more information about their health services, such as information about the medical procedures they provide.
- How does the new Law regulate the issue of giving gifts to healthcare professionals?
MP: As a general rule, the new law prohibits healthcare practitioners from seeking or receiving any benefit which may affect their impartiality or the professional performance of their duties.
However, healthcare practitioners may still receive gifts of smaller value, expressing the patient’s gratitude to the healthcare practitioner. The law does give some guidance what this smaller value means, though uncertainty about the term remains. Since its presumed goal was to fight corruption in healthcare, perhaps this provision about gifts could have been more precise.
- In your opinion, what are the main deficiencies of the new law?
MP: I have already mentioned that the provision about gifts could have been clearer. In any event, to see the full impact of the law, as well as its deficiencies, we will have to wait for the adoption of all relevant by-laws and, of course, for the law to be applied in practice.
The interview was conducted by our associate Aleksandra Stojanovic.
If you are interested in this topic, feel free to also check out our newsletter about the changes in the Serbian healthcare legislation.