- Pharmaceutical importers deny violation of price regulations
- The industry was compelled to marginally adjust prices
In response to the National Medicines Regulatory Authority’s (NMRA) move to issue cancellations of registrations of medicines for violating conditions of registrations, the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industries (SLCPI) who represent its constituent members has sent the below statement :
We refer to the news item titled “NMRA issues cancellation notices to five pharmaceutical companies” and hence, wish to correct the misconceptions and place on record, the actual facts and accurate circumstances that the public must know, although the NMRA has chosen to ignore the same.
At the outset, the headline is misleading in that the NMRA in their letter of July 17, states intent to cancel the registration of 10 drugs and NOT the pharmaceutical companies.
SLCPI wishes to reiterate to the NMRA and the public that, the 10 drugs referred to in the news item, do not fall within the category of price-controlled essential drugs, of which there now are 74 such price-controlled essential drugs. Hence, the private pharmaceutical importers categorically state that they have not violated any price regulations as mentioned by NMRA. The industry was compelled to marginally adjust prices of the drugs mentioned, which do not fall within the category of price controlled drugs, in order to maintain a continuous supply and ensure no shortages of these drugs in Sri Lanka, given the plunge of the Rupee against the USD and the serious situation of shortages globally, caused by the Covid pandemic.
SLCPI most categorically wishes to emphasize furthermore that no condition of the certificate of registration has been violated by the companies referred to in the said notice and at no point of time, either in the renewal of registrations, nor in any associated existing document or communication has the NMRA stipulated that no price increase can be taken. Furthermore, there is no stated condition to that effect either, in both the primary registration certificate or the renewal registration certificate.
It is significant that although the NMRA Act came into effect almost 5 years ago, nevertheless. the industry is yet to see either a drive towards due compliance with the governing law and the prescription of a pricing mechanism put in place in terms of the law and which is the practice all over the world.
While all pharma importers have implemented an annual increase in the prices of non-controlled medicines, adjusted to the devaluation of the Rupee, what is most disturbing is that the NMRA has selectively issued cancellation notices to just 5 importers, which displays a dangerous, discriminatory trend.
The SLCPI emphasises that while the increase in MRP of certain medicines was inevitable, with the challenging situation of the Rupee vs Dollar depreciation, SLCPI’s utmost endeavour is to ensure a regular supply of drugs, which is needed in full supply more than ever and in great demand in combating the Covid-19 situation.
“We are mindful of there being adequate supplies whilst also supplying them at the very best possible price, subject to the above financial constraints including devaluation that we are forced to grievously confront”, the statement read.
Important to note is that SLCPI’s priority is to ensure a steady supply of the essential drugs and have continuously strived in making sure due and uninterrupted supplies to the public, despite the subsequent, significant depreciation of the LKR vs the USD and the economic catastrophe caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.