UAE: 9 initiatives rolled out to reduce prices of medicines in pharmacies since 2011

New unified medical file system that will link all hospitals in the country underway



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Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 3:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 10:41 PM

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHP) has launched more than nine initiatives to reduce the prices of medicines in pharmacies in the past 11 years.

A top government official told the Federal National Council (FNC) that the government also rolled out a discount rate of up to 78 per cent of the actual price of some medicines.

In the FNC meeting on Tuesday evening, Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, the Minister of Health and Prevention, said, “Since I assumed responsibility for the MoHP in 2011, we launched an initiative on July 1, 2011, that included reducing the prices of 565 types of medicines with discount rates from 5 per cent to 60 per cent.

"At the beginning of January 2012, prices of 115 medicines were reduced with discount rates from 5 per cent to 50 per cent.”

Al Owais was responding to a question from FNC member Muhammad Issa Al Kashf about the prices of drugs for chronic diseases in pharmacies.

He added, “On June 1, 2013, the prices of 6,791 types of innovative and similar medicines were reduced from 5 per cent to 60 per cent. Prices of 207 medicines were reduced at the beginning of 2014, with discount rates from 5 per cent to 60 per cent.

“On February 1, 2015, the prices of 280 types of innovative medicines were reduced, with a discount rate of 5 per cent to 60 per cent. At the beginning of January 2016, the prices of 142 medicines were reduced, with a discount rate of 5 per cent to 50 per cent, and in September, the prices of 657 types of medicines were reduced, with a similar discount rate.”

Al Owais noted that the ministry further reduced the prices of 410 types of medicines with a discount rate from 2 per cent to 77 per cent in that that followed.

In January 2020, the prices of 573 types of similar medicines were reduced at a discount rate between 5 per cent to 78 per cent.

Unified medical file system by end of 2022

During Tuesday’s meeting, Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais also confirmed that a new unified medical file system that will link all hospitals and allow them access to medical records of a patient is underway.

He said all public hospitals would be fully connected to the new system by the end of 2022.

Al Owais noted that the MoHP had started implementing the electronic unified health file system among all government hospitals in the country at the beginning of 2020, but the challenges of Covid-19 hindered the process. He noted that before the outbreak of Covid-19, the ministry had completed adding 10 million medical files within the new electronic health care platform.

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Explaining the importance of the new system, the minister pointed out that the unified digital health platform will provide updated data for patient records, including the patient’s health history and medications prescribed to them, laboratory analysis results, referrals, and everything related to the patient’s file and data in government hospitals and private sector hospitals.

The minister noted that they were using Artificial intelligence (AI) mechanism to link all hospitals-government and private, to each other through accessing information on patients in a standardised patient file.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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