192 medicines to go cheaper in UAE from January 1
Of the 192 drugs, 152 are innovative medicines used for treatment of illnesses such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes and coagulation
Prices of 192 medicines for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, have been reduced by between one and 60 per cent.
However, the reduction will be applicable only from January 1 next year, Dr Amin Al Amiri, UAE Health Ministry Medical Practices and Licensing assistant undersecretary, announced on Wednesday.
The ministry will release a rate list of all the medicines and their new prices on its website on Sunday. This is the fourth such initiative taken by the ministry in the past two years.
Of the 192 drugs, 152 are innovative medicines used for treatment of illnesses such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes and coagulation, Dr Amiri told a pharmaceutical industry meeting.
“This means that patients benefit the most since these medicines are required for a lifetime,” he added.
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
are not priced by the health ministry, and pharmacists can charge prices according to their costs.
The first reduction announced by the ministry was in June 2011 when prices of 565 innovative medicines were reduced between five and 55 per cent. In November 2011, prices of 115 generic medicines were reduced by five to 35 per cent.
The biggest reduction happened in June this year, when prices of 6,632 medicines were reduced between one and 40 per cent.
Dr Amiri said pharmaceutical firms in the country had conducted a survey after the third initiative was announced in June this year. “It was found that it was best to make announcements on reduction at least two months before the date of implementation so that medicine shortage does not occur,” he said, explaining that after previous announcements, pharmacists did not buy new stock because they were waiting for the new prices, which led to a shortage.
“With less time between the announcement and implementation, pharmacists will now have to sell up on their stocked medicines,” he said.
Novartis has reduced the most prices of its medicines, followed by AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Serono and Pfizer.
Nearly 7,500 drugs are registered with the ministry and of them 60 per cent are the lowest priced in the GCC region, Dr Amiri said. “However, 40 per cent are (the) highest priced...but we are coming to an agreement with the companies to reduce these prices as well.”
Dr Yacoub Haddad, head of PhrMag (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, Gulf). said the UAE was an ideal environment for investment due to “easy legislation and good infrastructure”.
“There is no doubt that there is a rise continuously in the cost of health care despite the fact that expenditure for drugs accounts for only 10 per cent of the total bill for treatment, but we have taken the decision to ensure that patients receive on our products at affordable prices,” he said.
“The cost of providing a new drug can cost up to $1.6 billion on an average, compared with $400-500 million a few years ago.”
Date : 11/14/2013 8:38:42 AM