April 3, 2017 Print

The Parliament in Poland has been considering new restrictions on the country’s pharmaceutical industry, placing strict limits on who can receive a license to operate a pharmacy, how many pharmacies can be operated by one proprietor, the allowable distance between planned pharmacies and ones already in operation, and other burdensome regulations. KoLiber Association, an Atlas Network partner based in Warsaw, has argued against the legislation for months and the organization’s research was instrumental in halting its passage recently.

“Our Analytic Center, working closely with MP Jakub Kulesza, had been participating in a series of government commissions working against further regulation of the Polish pharmaceutical distribution market,” said Mikołaj Pisarski, president of the Krakow branch of KoLiber. “We've successfully managed to persuade commission members to advise that the project be rejected. Although the Parliament had had planned further deliberations, we've managed to stop it from being passed, gained large media coverage, and built a successful coalition against it. Similar things are happening right now in regard to the ‘Equal Book Price Bill,’ against which we lead a coalition of several pro-liberty organizations.”

Kulesza was elected to Parliament in 2015 after spending several years on staff at KoLiber, including serving as the organization’s president. Kulesza’s website describes him as the “Most libertarian Member of Parliament.”

The legislation would have provided a regulatory shield for the established pharmaceutical by restricting competition and raising prices, KoLiber points out.

“The change will most benefit wholesalers and drug manufacturers, with a negotiating position that will enable them to dictate higher prices,” wrote Witold Stoch Tomasz Pułról in an analysis of the pharmaceutical legislation (translated from Polish). “Because the market is almost dominated by the four largest wholesalers, retail will be severely fragmented. This will strengthen their position and give them additional discretionary tools, which they will be able to use to eliminate competition. … Patients will be the primary losers — we ordinary pharmacy customers, which includes many elderly and disabled people who may have a big problem using pharmacy services.”

Pisarski participated in Atlas Leadership Academy’s Think Tank Leadership Training (TTLT), where he gained “Insights and advice in the field of strategic planning and project management and measurement, which helped me in drafting and presenting a successful strategy for KoLiber to our general meeting members.” After his participation in TTLT, Pisarski was appointed to his position as president in December.