The Health Ministry gave in to the demands of the pharmaceutical companies with regard to increasing the prices of chronic diseases medications that have no cheaper alternatives on the market; a Ministry of Health official source said Sunday.
The Ministry had to agree to the companies' request for fear of looming shortages in those medications; in case it insisted on its stance. The Ministry had previously issued a statement assuring that chronic diseases medications would be excluded from the price hike.
Spokesperson for the Health Ministry; Khaled Megahed; said the ministry will hand over to the drug companies; on Thursday; the final list of adjustments to drug prices; after which the health minister will hold a news conference to announce to the public details of the decision to the public.
The hikes will not apply to the stock of drugs already produced before the decision; which will be sold in accordance to the old prices; he added.
Pharmacies which will sell their old stock of medications in accordance to the new price will be referred to the public prosecutor; said Megahed.
The Chair of Medicine Manufacturing within the Pharmacists Syndicate; Mahfouz Ramzy; criticized the decision of the Ministry; saying large pharmacies which have a big stock of old drugs will monopolize the market until their stocks run out; because they will be selling in accordance to the older; cheaper prices.
On the other hand; small pharmacies which have limited amounts of stock will be forced to sell the newly produced medicines at the higher prices; thus encouraging citizens to buy from the larger pharmacies.
The decision will cause thousands of small pharmacies to shut down; said Ramzy.
The prices of about 4;665 drugs for diabetes; blood pressure; heart and kidney chronic diseases will increase; without exception; by up to 50 percent; said Ahmed Farouq; former Secretary General of the Pharmacists Syndicate.
Farouq also rejected the Ministry 's decision to sell the current stock of medications in accordance to the old prices; while selling the newly produced drugs in accordance to the new prices.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-YoumPress here to read more about original topic