Plea for medicine price hike rejected

ABU DHABI — The Ministry of Health (MoH) will not yield to the demands to hike prices of some essential medicines immediately, a senior health official has said.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Wed 25 Jul 2007, 8:42 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:19 AM

Some drug distributors had reportedly approached the MoH, demanding a 14 per cent increase in profit margins on imported European medicines. They argued that only an increase in profit margins would help them afford the high cost on rents (of pharmacies) as well as the transaction fees they have to pay to various departments.

However, Humaid Mohammed Al Shamsi, assistant under-secretary for Pharmacy Supplies at the MoH, clarified: “The MoH does not intend to increase the profit margins on some drugs immediately as proposed by drug distributors.”

He noted: “Increasing profit margin will not solve the problem because it’s the exchange rate of some foreign currencies that is responsible for the current reduction in profits reported by drug distributors.”

Shamsi, however, told Khaleej Times yesterday that the MoH was discussing the issue of medicine prices with the Consumer Protection Department and the Ministry of Economy in order to come up with a satisfactory solution that does not affect the availability of drugs in the local market.

“We expect to reach a settlement by mid-September. Until then, the prices of medicines will remain the same. We do not want the drug distributors to incur losses because this might adversely impact the availability of medicines in the market,” added Shamsi.

It may be noted that the prices of some medicines were slashed by the MoH by around 20 per cent in the year 2005.

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