BanglaAU Bangladeshi Youth Community in Australia for Bengali People
49 essential drugs may get costlier
17/01/2010 16:03 by BangladeshNews
Prices of some 49 essential drug items will see an increase soon as the technical sub-committee of the Price Fixation Committee of Drug Administration (DA) has put forward a proposal to hike the prices of those items. On the plea of increased prices of raw materials at the international market the members of the committee recommended hiking the prices of the drugs at a meeting on November 15. The proposal is expected to get a nod from the next meeting of the Price Fixation Committee to be held soon. However, insiders of some pharmaceutical companies said that from the very beginning there had been a huge gap between prices of raw materials and the prices of finished drugs resulting in unusually high profits of the companies. This is applicable to more than 1400 generic drugs the prices of which are fixed by the drug manufacturers. However, in case of only 117 essential drugs, the companies make comparatively little profit. This is why the drug manufacturers very often put pressure on the government to increase prices of these essential drugs, insiders say. The government controls the prices of these essential drugs. Drug companies often show inflated manufacturing cost in the cost list of these items in a bid to substantiate their claim for increasing the prices of drugs. According to the proposal, prices of some items will be almost doubled due to the re-fixation while some new 16 items will be on the market. Ibuprofen suspension, amoxycillin injection, salbutamol syrup, folic acid, metronidazole tablet, mebendazole tablet, vitamin B Complex capsule, prednisolone tablet, theophylline tablet, Chloramphenicol eye drop, dextrose, ascorbic acid, aluminum Hydroxide Gel, sodium chlorine IV infusion and insulin are among the items in the list. These drugs are used for asthma or inflammatory diseases, scabies, allergy, diabetes, eye problem, pain relieving, dysentery, amebic liver abscess, infection etc. The price of the antibiotic Amoxycillin injection vial (500 mg) is proposed Tk 65 (excluding VAT) while its production cost is less than Tk 29.65 (excluding VAT). The price of Benzathine Benzylpenicillin injection is proposed Tk 70 against its production cost of Tk 28.74. The Price Fixation Committee normally approves the decision of the technical sub committee, said the Drug Administration sources adding that apart from the finished products the mark-up (limit of profit making) of raw materials of four imported drug items will also go up. If the pharmaceutical companies cannot make minimum profit, they will not be interested in manufacturing essential drugs, said Drug Administration authorities. They also said prices of raw materials at the international market have increased a lot but the prices of these essential drugs have not been hiked or revised since 1994. While talking to The Daily Star Abdul Muktadir, managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals said the government is supposed to revise the prices of these essential drugs every year in line with the inflation and dollar rates. ?As the government has not taken any step in this regard for long 15 years, the local companies have almost stopped manufacturing these drugs. That is why the drug market has been flooded with smuggled drugs and helpless people buy them at an exorbitant price,? he said. Hiking prices of these drugs will drive local pharmaceuticals to manufacture more essential drugs. At the same time, people can afford to buy them at a lower prices and it will also help reduce adulterated drugs considerably. The rights activists, however, said quality of essential drugs must be ensured and they should be available and affordable to the poor people. President of Chemist and Druggist Association Sadekur Rahman said price hike of essential drugs would encourage drug smuggling from the neighbouring countries as they are cheaper and at the same time adulterated drugs will flood the market. ?The prices of raw materials fluctuate at the international market, which is a normal phenomenon but if prices of drugs increases once at the local market it never ever comes down. The government should think about the people and the prices should be increased rationally and in phases,? he added.



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