Prices of 67 medicines cut by up to 40%: MoH

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Prices of 67 medicines cut by up to 40%: MoH

Prices of 67 drugs have been reduced by up to 40 per cent, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Wed 30 Mar 2011, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:25 AM

Medicines for treating blood pressure, cholesterol, a number of mental illnesses and antibiotics will be available for 5 to 10 per cent reduced prices in the market by July, said officials during the opening of the new regional office of Pfizer in Dubai Media City.

Currently, Pfizer International and Merck Sharp & Dohme have reduced the prices though officials said that another 20 international pharmaceutical companies are expected to reduce their prices soon.

Popular cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor will now be available for Dh285 instead of Dh356. “The UAE has opened new horizons for partnerships between both public and private sectors and consolidates legislations that guarantee successful investment in the healthcare field,” said Minister of Health Dr Hanif Hassan at the inauguration.

Dr Salem Al Darmaki, Acting Undersecretary at the ministry, stated that the ministry’s strategy aims at raising the standards of medical and treatment services with reasonable costs for all.

Prices of 209 new medicines registered with the ministry over the past six months have already been reduced. A total of 8,503 drugs are registered with the ministry.

Currently, a number of medicines in the UAE are among the highest priced in the region with differences ranging up to 100 per cent from its strongest competitor, Saudi Arabia.

A snapshot done by Health Action International (HAI) in 2009 showed that patients in the UAE pay at least four times more for branded drugs as compared to the generic versions.

According to the ministry’s new system to reduce prices, reduction in the customs insurance freight (CIF) charges are proposed instead of further cuts being levied on agents and pharmacies. At present, pharmacies are earning only six per cent profits after losing out 10 per cent commission to insurance companies.

Commenting on its regional office here, David Simmons, Pfizer Emerging Markets and Established Products president, said, “This facility will perform two important functions for Pfizer in this region — as the UAE office and as a central headquarters for all our operations in the Middle East and across the African continent.”

Dr Ayesha Abdullah, Managing Director of TECOM Sciences Cluster which includes Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, who was also present at the inauguration, said: “We have been working with Pfizer from the early stages to facilitate their establishment of a regional office in Dubai.”

The company has also set up a distribution centre in the UAE to ensure improved availability of medications to meet growing healthcare demands in the Middle East, said Guy Lallemand, Pfizer regional president, Africa Middle East.

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