Fall in drug prices to help patients

In a recent post on his social media account, Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah said that health ministry had lowered the prices of 291 drugs, in some cases by as much as 50 percent.

He added the price reductions were the fifth phase in a series of measures outlined by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) drug pricing commission, which aims to standardize and reduce the price of medicines across the six-nation bloc, while increasing integration and coordination among member states in the pharmaceutical field. The minister pointed out that the new prices would become applicable a day after they were published in the official gazette.

In September of 2018, the health ministry had announced that it had finalized a four-stage survey of new prices for pharmaceuticals and recommended the lowering of prices for 3,126 drugs. The price reductions, which ranged from 5 to 86 percent, were intended to bring uniformity in the price of drugs and standardization of pharmaceuticals across the GCC states.

“The first stage of the survey covered the prices of 1,033 drugs for treating coronary illnesses and diabetes, given the crucial nature and prevalence of these ailments in the GCC. The prices for these drugs were reduced by up to 84 percent, said Dr. Basel during a press conference back them.

In the second phase, the prices of 675 drugs for treatment of skin, chest and digestive system disorders were reduced by up to 83 percent. The prices of 1034 compounds for the treatment of communicable diseases, tumors and inflammation as well as the immune system disorders were reduced by rates amounting to 86 percent.

The health minister had noted that drug pricing is a dynamic process given the discovery of new compounds and competition among producers to serve the consumers. “This competition has a positive impact on patients and health facilities; it is also helpful for the ministry in its efforts to improve service and offer effective and safe drugs at affordable prices,” he added.