Heart drugs to be cheaper

February 26, 2014 - 2:54:02 am

DOHA: Prices of regular medicines for cardiovascular and endocrine diseases are likely to fall in Qatar with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) working on a plan to fix them.

This is in line with a GCC plan to bring uniformity in prices of medicines in the member countries.

“The SCH will start fixing the wholesale prices of regular medicines for heart diseases and endocrine disorders as in other GCC countries. This will reduce the prices of these medicines in Qatar and make them similar or close to the prices in other GCC countries,” Al Sharq quoted a statement issued by the Pharmacy and Drug Control Department of the SCH as saying.

The comments came in response to a report carried by the daily recently on complaints about medicines in Qatar being costlier than in some other GCC countries.

The GCC states are working on a mechanism to standardise prices of medicines, but the process of reaching agreement on uniform prices can take more than four years, according to earlier reports. A GCC committee was set up to work out the details.

There are wide disparities in the region in prices of medicines, which are high in Qatar. The move towards uniform prices follows a decision by GCC health ministries in 2012 to import medicines jointly through common tenders.

The committee has already prepared unified prices of some important segments of medicines, which include those for endocrine disorders, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases and internal diseases. A tentative uniform price list is expected to be issued soon. The plan includes a proposal to limit the profit margin of dealers and pharmacies to 44 percent.

“Fixing the prices of the two types of medicines will reduce their prices in all private pharmacies in Qatar, and this is the aim the SCH wants to achieve. This will also prevent the entry of fake medicines into the country as well as smuggling of medicines between GCC countries,” said the statement.

The Department said that after the SCH decision to lift government control over pricing of medicines and liberalise imports, it has been conducting regular inspections at all private pharmacies to ensure that they abide by the declared prices.

“We didn’t detect any violations in this regard,” said the statement.