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Unified prices for gastro drugs in GCC.

Summary: Drug prices of innovative medicines for gastroenterology will be unified across the Gulf countries based on the lowest price in the region, a senior health official said.

Drug prices of innovative medicines for gastroenterology will be unified across the Gulf countries based on the lowest price in the region, a senior health official said.

The unification on the lowest prices means easy accessibility and discounted medicine prices for consumers at anytime and anywhere in the region.

This will be the fourth group of medicines for which the prices are being unified based on the lowest price in the GCC region, said Dr Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing at the UAE Ministry of Health. The earlier three groups include medicines for endocrinology (diabetes), hypertension and cardiology.

"Sixty per cent of medicines in these three groups were priced the lowest in the UAE following which the other GCC countries also adopted the UAE prices ... for the remaining 40 per cent of medicines, the prices were lowest among a few other countries which the UAE has now adopted," explained Dr Amiri.

In June of this year, prices of 6,632 drugs in the UAE were lowered from 1 to 40 per cent. The decision to unify prices for the gastro drugs was taken at the 11th meeting of the GCC committee for unifying regional medicines which is currently underway in Dubai.

"We compare the prices and after, the decision is taken to adopt the lowest price, a proposal is sent to the Executive Office of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which then gives the final approval," said Dr Amiri while explaining the process. The meeting has also decided that the lowest profit margin for local agents and pharmacies among the GCC countries should not exceed 45 per cent.

"These efforts to consolidate and reduce prices of medicines will have an impact on patients at the level of the GCC countries ... it will ease the burden on them and provide all pharmaceutical items at a discounted price at any time," explained Dr Amiri. Price adjustments have been done by pegging the import price to the US dollar and unifying it across the GCC. A total of 7,053 medicines are currently registered with the ministry.

Dr Amiri also said the system would encourage investment in the pharmaceutical sector in the country.

asmlizain@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 12, 2013
Words:411
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