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MOVE TO COVER 1,053 DRUGS

Bahrain slashes medicine prices by 60pc

Manama, May 12, 2014

Prices of more than 1,000 medicines will be slashed by up to 60 per cent in Bahrain starting Thursday, as part of a GCC decision to unify cost of medication.

The list includes medicines used to treat diabetes, hypertension, gastrointestinal problems and arthritis among others, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) yesterday (May 11) confirmed the new national price ceiling would initially include 1,053 medicines, which will result in cheaper hospital treatment in Bahrain.

A detailed list of the medicines and their prices was circulated to pharmacies and bodies concerned yesterday.

"This major move will ensure medicines are available at competitive prices for consumers in Bahrain," said NHRA chief executive Dr Bahaa Eldin Fateha.

"The list of prices has been approved by the NHRA and will be adopted from Thursday by all pharmacies or agents in Bahrain, which have also agreed to them. I strongly believe this decision will result in lower cost of living."

Dr Fateha said the authority will initially cover drugs used to treat gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, endocrines and musculoskeletal medications capamong others.

"For example, the prices for drugs used to treat hypertension will be dropped by 50 per cent, while medicines used for diabetes and even gastrointestinal ailments will witness price slash ranging between 40 per cent and 65 per cent," he explained.

More reductions on other medicines are expected in the coming months as part of a multi-phased plan to reduce the price of medicines in the Gulf.

"The second batch of medicines will see prices of antibiotics lowered and this also includes drugs used by HIV/Aids patients," said Dr Fateha.

Pharmacies will be allowed to sell stocks at existing prices until Thursday.

The new pricing, which will finally be implemented following months of intense negotiations with international drug suppliers and local agents, also means a reduction in the profit margins of companies by 35 per cent.

The GDN obtained a copy of the list, which shows a 49 per cent reduction in Voltaren gel and a 57.6 per cent drop in its tablets.

Consumers will also pay 22.8 per cent less for aspirin tablets along with a 20.2 per cent cut in Lipitor, which is used for cardiovascular diseases.

Prices of hypertension medicines such as Cozaar will decrease by 21.8 per cent and Aprovel by 29.4 per cent.

Violating agents or pharmacies could face legal action, added Dr Fateha.

Health officials earlier said that Bahrain will be the first GCC country to benefit from the scheme. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | diseases | NHRA | Medicine prices |

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