Prices of vital drugs need to be monitored

MEDICINES, unlike other material products, is an essential commodity which very often means a matter of life and death.

By The Monitor

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Published: Sun 19 Jun 2005, 10:57 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:03 PM

Purchasing a wristwatch helps one with accurate time, but time itself would come to a standstill if medicines go beyond the reach of a person who is in urgent need of medication. A fancy wallet purchased from the mall may help one keep money safe, but what value currency if it is not enough to buy medicines when one needs it most.

One can do without wristwatches and wallets, but there is no way one can avoid medication if one is ill. Medicine is not a luxury, and hence, the authorities should ensure that it is easily available, and at a price affordable to all.

The prices of medicines when they enter the country take an entirely different form by the time they find their way to the pharmacies through various layers of distribution. And with surgeries in government hospitals also being charged, patients have to queue up before the pharmacies to get the medicines, which results in greater demand, and subsequently higher volumes of sales. The patients get fleeced in the bargain.

Given the situation, it is imperative that the Ministry of Health intervene to ensure that medicines are available at affordable rates by fixing profit margins at reasonable levels.

Only such a move can save the patients, literally.

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