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Price band may prompt some drug brands to exit: SLCPI

29 December 2016 08:57 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka’s pharma chamber yesterday cautioned that a few medicinal drug brands, particularly manufactured in developed countries, may not be available in the local market as a result of the companies marketing these products exiting the market. 
“…there might be a few brands, particularly those originating from developed countries, which may not be available in the local market in the future, due to the companies having no option but to exit, as they find it difficult to market their products at the stipulated prices,” the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) said in a statement. 

“In spite of this, the affected companies are in the process of evaluating all possible options to remain in the market,” it added. 
A couple of months back, the Health Ministry announced maximum retail prices on 48 medicinal drugs, a move that met with much objection from the SLCPI. 
However, the SLCPI said despite the negative economic impact consequent to the implementation of the price ceiling, its members have made every effort possible to ensure the continuity of the supply of medicines to the market. 
While reaffirming its commitment towards working closely with Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry and the regulators in providing best possible healthcare solution to the citizenry, the SLCPI is concerned about the repercussions of pharmaceutical products exiting the local market. 
“This eventuality could not only lead to patients being deprived of medicines they are used to purchasing but also runs the risk of illegal imports and spurious products flooding the market. 
This situation would also open the doors to unscrupulous black marketers, who would not be concerned about transport conditions, etc., which would not be in compliance with the necessary quality standards, placing lives in danger,” the SLCPI warned. 
Meanwhile, the SLCPI said that its membership has already compensated or is in the process of compensating all retailers and regional distributors for the stocks at hand at the time of introducing the pricing mechanism. 
The chamber noted that in this manner, the retailers and distributors would be protected from heavy losses due to the 
price reduction. 
“Any delay in the process is purely due to administrative reasons as assessing the stock levels of over 3000 outlets is time-consuming and challenging in the absence of online data.”
The SLCPI said it has always maintained the view that a practical pricing formula would ensure the access of quality medicines at affordable prices to satisfy the varying needs of society ranging from the less affluent to the more affluent, so that neither is at risk. 
“Illegal and spurious pharmaceutical imports are global problems that are already impacting international markets. Therefore, we need to ensure measures to minimize these dangerous risk factors that could hamper an already good healthcare service in Sri Lanka,” SLCPI President Palitha Jayatilleke said.  
Specially in this light, the SLCPI says the announcement by the health minister of the government’s intention of setting up a quality assurance laboratory to ensure the availability of quality drugs to the citizens of Sri Lanka is a welcome one.
“It is important that a pricing mechanism ensures the availability of products at affordable prices, so that the less affluent have access to the more economical pharmaceuticals, whilst those who prefer to purchase higher priced innovator products have legal access to them instead of having to resort to black market buying or purchasing them overseas. 
Not only will this benefit all levels of society, it will also send a positive signal to global institutions interested in investing in Sri Lanka as well as minimizing the risk of existing business entities from exiting the market,” Jayatilleke stressed. 

 

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