UAE cuts prices of over 500 medicines for chronic diseases

medicines, UAE, health,  Ministry, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular, nervous

Majority of affected drugs come with a reduction of more than 50 per cent.

By Saman Haziq and Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Tue 18 Feb 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Feb 2020, 7:31 AM

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has reduced the prices of 573 medicines, including those for chronic diseases, by two to 74 per cent.
The decision issued by Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Community Protection, will bring down the prices of medicines used to treat diabetes; hypertension; cardiovascular, nervous and respiratory issues; and some paediatric problems.
The initiative, undertaken in cooperation with 97 major local and international pharmaceutical manufacturers, is so far the largest - in quantity and quality - in the recent past.
According to the decision, the highest reduction in the prices of drugs covered ranged from 47 per cent to 68 per cent, while the lowest reduction was between two per cent and 10 per cent. Majority of affected drugs come with a reduction of more than 50 per cent.
The ministry said the decision will ease the financial burden on patients and contribute to their access to the world's best and most modern drugs at affordable prices. It will support patients, especially those with chronic diseases, infectious and intestinal diseases, joint and muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, as well as respiratory, dermatological, viral and other diseases where the patient needs to use drugs permanently and persistently.
Health experts welcomed the decision saying it will be a game-changer in healthcare services.
"It would significantly benefit the patients who may have insurance but with very low annual limits for pharmacy spends. Once this limit is exhausted, they have to spend for medicines out of their pocket, which some of them desist due to the high cost. This has a serious effect on their health, especially in the cases of chronic diseases like diabetes or high cholesterol," said Dr Jamil Ahmed, managing director, Prime Healthcare group.
Dr Sherbaz Bichu, CEO of Aster Hospitals UAE, said: "It is a well-known fact that most chronic diseases require long-term medication and treatment. This would imply that affordability of these essential medicines is of utmost importance to ensure effective treatment."
The ministry stated that the reduction in the price of medicines supports the strategic partnership between the Ministry of Health and the international pharmaceutical companies operating in the country. It added that the reduction in prices of medicines was done by companies that volunteered to do it and in varying proportions.
The ministry pointed out that the pricing system it follows is based on periodic follow-up, and is adjusted and updated as per varying factors that impact the price.

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