No profiteering off illness: UAE slashes prices of 422 drugs
The UAE’s Ministry of Health has announced a price reduction for around 422 innovative and produced drugs, as part of its initiative to stem the surging cost of medicines in the country.
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The UAE’s Ministry of Health has announced a price reduction for around 422 innovative and produced drugs, as part of its initiative to stem the surging cost of medicines in the country, state news agency WAM reported.
The announcement, the fifth such reduction in the UAE, followed a meeting between ministry officials and international pharmaceutical companies and will be carried out in cooperation with large pharma firms, the official news agency said.
Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant under-secretary for the Ministry’s Public Health and Licensing and vice chairman of the Drug Pricing and Registration Higher Committee said that this cooperation will benefit all patients, especially those suffering from chronic, viral and neuro diseases including cardiovascular disorders and cancers.
The UAE has the highest per-capita medicine expenditure in the Middle East, according to a report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). A study across the region also found that drug prices in the country were 23 times higher than World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels.
In an effort to control the rising drug costs, authorities have been slashing medicine prices for the past three years.
The Ministry of Health first announced a reduction in the cost of drugs in June 2011 when it slashed the prices of 565 medicines by 55 per cent. Further reductions were announced in November 2011 when the prices of 115 generic medicines were cut by 35 per cent.
The UAE’s biggest reduction in drug prices took place in June 2013 when health authorities cut prices of 6,632 medicines, including drugs used for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, anti-depressants, asthma and anti-virals for HIV, by 40 per cent.
Authorities also announced the price reduction of 192 vital drugs by 60 per cent in late 2013. Drugs targeted for reduction included those used for the treatment of ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and viral diseases.
Through its last initiative, which was announced at the end of 2013, the UAE reduced the prices of an additional 205 drugs, including 14 used for the treatment of diabetes.
“Providing drugs at reasonable prices is one of the ministry’s priorities within its healthcare services,” said Al Amiri.
He added that the pricing system from the Ministry of Health is based on regular analysis and amendments of drug prices according to the latest updates in the pharmaceutical market, such as prices of similar medicines, and other economic factors.
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