Posted on July 30, 2015

A GCC committee approved prices for an additional 140 medicines yesterday in Doha as part of the ongoing unified procurement plan. 

The new medicines were added to the list of 2,704 approved by the GCC states in February. Initially, 4,263 medicines were suggested to be added in the plan in the second phase and 2,704 of them were approved. During the panel meeting, the member states agreed to unify prices of imported medicines, including insurance and shipping costs. The unified price list now has 2,900 medicines under 14 classified groups. Prices have been fixed based on the lowest available in member countries. Several GCC states, including Qatar, are reducing prices of medicines following the decision.

As part of the plan, the GCC states issued 16 tenders in 2014 in which 22 government agencies and 657 companies participated. In 2013, the pricing committee completed a study on 14 pharmaceutical groups. The panel will hold the next meeting in Oman in September to decide on adding the remaining 1,419 pharmaceutical products to the list. Qatar has implemented unified prices of imported medicines approved at earlier meetings. It witnessed a huge jump in the imports of medicines and pharmaceuticals products last year due to falling prices.

The imports jumped by 20.5 percent to QR424m in the third quarter (July-September) of 2014 compared to QR352m in the second quarter in the same year, according to the quarterly bulletin on foreign merchandise issued by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics in January. The decline in prices is the result of a GCC decision to unify import prices in member countries which took effect in Qatar in the last week of September 2014.

The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) said 657 drugs for chronic heart, endocrine, muscular, rheumatism, dermatology and digestive system diseases are included in the first phase of unified prices. Prices of several common medicines have fallen by five to 70 percent.

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