Drug Prices Go Up
By Chrishanthi Christopher
The weakening of the rupee is now taking its toll literally on the suffering masses especially on patients who depend on prescription drugs.
It is learnt that recently all pharmaceutical drugs have increased in price by around 15 per cent. Pharmaceutical sources attribute this price increase to the fluctuating dollar which rallied around the Rs. 133 mark last week.
“I believe it is the exchange rate’ says State Pharmaceutical Corporation, General Manager, Dinushan Dassnayake.
Dassanayake contends that pharmaceutical importers cannot put up their prices as there are a number of players in the field. “There is healthy competition among the importers and prices have always been stable ” says Dassanayake.
An owner of a pharmacy in Colombo 5 says that hitherto the prices of drugs have been stable and it is only the new stocks that have gone up in price.
In November 2011 the government proposed a plan to control the price of all pharmaceutical drugs in the market. Following this in the second week of March the Health Ministry gazetted a list of essential and non essential pharmaceutical drugs under the National Medicinal Drug Policy. The gazette notification proposed to cut down on importation of drugs and control prices.
The proposal which is supposed to be helpful to the people have not come through while patients continue to pay high prices for different brands of the same generic names.
However importers of pharmaceutical drugs argue that the market is effectively priced. They say that although price control was removed over six years ago the prices are stable and affordable.