Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Price of medicines in UAE to go up from October

Price of medicines in UAE to go up from October
By Dina El Shammaa, Staff Reporter Published: July 14, 2008, 15:21

Abu Dhabi: The sick will have to pay more for their drugs from October as new prices have been hammered out between the Ministry of Health, distributors and pharmacists.

There will be a total increase of 27.25 per cent on 1,129 drugs priced in euros. However, people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, will only pay a 5.8 per cent increase.

The increase comes into effect on October 15, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday. Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Health, said the Ministry will revaluate the prices in cooperation with the Central Bank after two years.

"We know the cost of living has gone up. The Ministry has been in talks on the prices with international pharmacies and distributors for the past nine months, until we reached this decision," he said.

Among the 1,129 drugs that will be sold at new prices, 530 items are for chronic diseases. The other 599 drugs are for non-chronic conditions such as flu which only require short-term use of medication.

The initial hike for chronic disease drugs was 32 per cent, but the Ministry intervened and managed to cut it to a 5.85 per cent increase only, said the Minister.

This was done after reducing the cost of insurance on freight at ports. This helped reduce distributors' costs by five per cent and pharmacy costs by six per cent.

The increase will affect drugs imported from Europe. When asked about drugs bought in other currencies the minister said: "To date no other prices related to other currencies will be affected except for the euro." Dr Ameen Al Amiri, CEO for Medical Practice and Licence, Ministry of Health, said drugs sold across the UAE were the cheapest in the region.

When asked why the rise in drugs for non-life threatening conditions was as high as 21.4 per cent, he said there were various types of such drugs sold across the UAE in other currencies, such as the dollar.

There is a rising number of national distributors selling drugs in the UAE and the Ministry's role is to try to encourage their productivity and promote nationalisation.

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