The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has granted licences to five more local companies to import medicines and pharmaceutical products into the country as part of its efforts to ensure low and competitive prices, but without compromising on quality.
The council has also issued preliminary permits to another five companies to establish drug manufacturing units in order to produce medicines and pharmaceutical products locally. The new five companies given approval to import drugs are: Tiba International Company, Ibn Al-Haytham Medical Foundation, Qatar Pharmacy Corporation, Doha Drug Store and Massar Medical Corporation.
The companies granted preliminary permits to manufacture drugs are: Qatar Hayat Factory, Qmed Factory, Al Mutamayez Factory for Medical Drugs and Doha Factory for Medical and Pharmaceutical Products.
According to the council, the permits came as a result of SCH’s keenness to free up the market of medicine based on the provision of the Emiri Decree number six of 2011 dated March 31, 2011, and which abolished the previous law of fixing prices of drugs and opened markets to more importers in a bid to create competition in the sector for the good of the consumers.
“After the agents or dealers of drugs have raised prices of medicines by around 10-40% when the old law was abolished, the permanent committee for permit articulated Law number five of 2011 in order to deal with the price increase,” the council said in a release issued before yesterday.
The article stipulates that “Whenever necessary, the competent entity may, in collaboration with other entities, fix the maximum price of drugs and medical products and the margins of profit for these. Also, price tags must be put on all medical products.”
However, the SCH said based on the law, price limit has been put for all the registered drugs under the sponsorship of Pharmacy and Drugs Control Department at SCH. Consequently, prices of medicines including all pharmaceutical products have decreased after the 10% increase occurred shortly before the old pricing law was deactivated, the SCH claimed.
In this regard, the SCH maintained that the new fixed prices are binding on all private pharmacies and they are not allowed to manipulate or sell at a price higher than the price limit because all drugs must have stickers indicating the price, name of importer and this is subjected to periodical monitoring and control.
Also, among the plans the SCH has adopted to guarantee the availability of drugs and at competitive price among all the GCC countries, was the adoption of a ‘Unified Gulf Pricing’ for medicine, which has recently been approved by the GCC health ministers.
It is expected that the Gulf Unified Pricing scheme will further guarantee that consumers get the same drugs for the same price anywhere in the GCC.
source: Gulf Times
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