Pharmaceuticals have been categorized as a special commodityand as such it is compulsory for importers to obtain the approval of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) before increasing prices,the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said today.
Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, who made this announcement at a media conference, said he had issued a gazette notification to this effect on March 4 using the powers vested in him under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act.
He said pharmaceuticals would fall under the category of other essential items such as gas, fuel and milk food.
The minister said this decision was taken by the government to avoid pharmaceutical importers from making exorbitant profits with some of importers even keeping a profit margin of as much as 800 percent on certain drugs.
He said the decision was taken after discussions with the health authorities including Health Minister Maithipala Sirisena.
The minister said plans were afoot to control the prices of locally manufactured Pharmaceuticals as well and would hold discussions with local drug manufacturerson this matter. (Yohan Perera and Sanath Desmond)