Final Word from Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When Czechs hear mention of "electronic auctions" for buying reimbursable drugs,they tend to think of a sophisticated system that will reduce corruption and lead tolower drug prices. But until they have proof to the contrary, they should probablythink instead of "Opencard." That's the electronic transit-card system that was supposedto cost Kč 89m but that has risen to more like Kč 1bn. It's the deal that turnedtheir personal data over to unknown Haguess and Cyprus-owned Cross Point.It's the deal that led to higher-priced transit tickets. Electronic auctions can indeedwork, but it all depends on the details. Such as who wins the contracts to write thesoftware and to run the auctions. If it's another Haguess, the result will likely behigher drug prices. It's curious that the same Boris Šťastný of ODS who is pushingso hard for electronic drug auctions was also one of the Opencard's champions.

Glossary of difficult words

to hear mention of - to hear of, to learn of;

reimbursable drugs - paid for by medical insurance;

Cross Point s.r.o. - one of the companies authorized to sell Opencards;

champion - a person who fights or argues for a cause on behalf of someone else.


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