70pc cuts on way in Bahrain medicine prices
Manama, January 26, 2014
Hospital treatment could become cheaper as a result of a nationwide project to reduce the cost of more than 500 commonly used medicines in Bahrain, according to a report.
The price of the medication for chronic diseases will be slashed by up to 70 per cent within four months, following negotiations with international drug suppliers, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They include drugs used to treat blood pressure, gastrointestinal ailments, arthritis, diseases affecting the immune system, diabetes, and metabolic diseases.
Pharmacies have until May 15 to ensure the new pricing structure is in place, the report said.
They were earlier given until today to reduce their profit margins from 45 per cent to 35 per cent on around 5,000 products and to 25 per cent on products costing over BD20 ($53).
The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) confirmed the new national price ceiling would initially include over 500 medications.
More reductions on other medicines are expected in the coming months as part of a multi-phased plan to reduce the price of medicine in Bahrain, following a recommendation from the Cabinet.
"The board of directors of the NHRA have approved the first batch prices for over 500 most commonly used medicines used for the treatment of chronic diseases," NHRA chief executive Dr Baha Eldin Fateha confirmed yesterday.
"It is only the first batch but these medicines are the most commonly used in Bahrain and will be for people with pain, blood pressure, gastrointestinal ailments, joint pain, immune system diseases, diabetes, and metabolic diseases.
"All medicine will have a minimum price reduction of 35 per cent but there will be some of medicines that will be reduced by 50 to 70 per cent.
"These new prices will be seen on the shelves by May 15."
Pharmacies will be allowed to sell stocks at existing prices until the deadline.
"This is a major step forward in Bahrain to provide its people with lifesaving medicine at a reasonable price," said Dr Fateha.
"The international suppliers of the medicine have already approved the price list and the only reason that the medicine will not change until May is because we have to give a three-month grace period for everyone to get rid of their stock.
"These medicines will be the same as the unified GCC price so no one will have travel to Saudi Arabia to get their medicine.
"This change in price should also lower the cost of healthcare as both private and public hospitals will be getting their medicine at the cheaper rate too.
"This was all made possible because of a Cabinet decision to recommend Bahrain medications be sold at a unified GCC rate."
Antibiotics will be part of the next batch of medicines that will have their prices lowered by up to 70 per cent but negations are still underway.
Dr Fateha said that a list of the new medicine prices will be made public before they are seen on the selves.
"People will see some strange things like medicine that was BD12 dropping to BD2.600," he said.
"This is going to mean major savings for a lot of people and their families in Bahrain."
Pharmacies that do not comply with the first phase of price restructuring today may face prosecution. The deadline for doing so was extended from last Sunday after pharmacy owners complained they had not been given sufficient notice. - TradeArabia News Service