Drug prices going through the roofOctober 5, 2012, 9:56 pm
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The continuing failure on the part of the government to implement a National Medicinal Drug Policy has led to a drastic increase in prices of vital drugs.
State Pharmaceutical Corporation Chairman Prof. S. D. Jayaratne said yesterday that there was an urgent need for controlling drug prices. He said that many of the drugs were branded and imported by the private sector. The increase in prices of raw materials, too, had led to the increase. The SPC did not manufacture some of those drugs. Certain drugs were costly, due to their demand in the market despite the presence of alternatives which were equally efficacious.
However, certain drugs such as those used for cholesterol and antibiotics had come down in price, Prof. Jayaratne noted.
The Health Ministry said that there had been errors in the earlier draft bill on the National Medicinal Drug Policy and that a new Committee had been appointed by the Ministry to review the new draft bill.
The Health Ministry however said that price control came under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce.
Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority, Rumy Marzook, when contacted, said that a format for controlling drug prices was being worked out and following its completion his institution would have discussions with the Health Ministry on the issue.
Well known private pharmacies from Union Place, Kirula Road, Deans Place, Kotahena, Bambalapitiya and Kurunegala town, when contacted, said that while antibiotic prices had not increased much, the price of insulin which was about Rs. 500 had risen to over Rs. 1,500 while drugs taken for prostrate complications such as Urimax, Dromax and Finca imported mainly from India had increased due to the increase in the dollar rate. Currently, the price of Urimax is Rs. 33 a capsule while Dromax is Rs. 54 a tablet.
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