The country’s pharmaceutical chamber yesterday categorically denied the allegations that its members were hoarding pharmaceuticals to create an artificial shortage in the market in light of the recent government gazette significantly slashing the prices of 48 vital drugs.
“If patients are not getting drugs from the local pharmacies, it is mainly due to the reluctance of the pharmacies to issue certain medications at the new gazette price without clear instructions from their suppliers/local importers.
The local importers in turn are still awaiting clear instructions from their suppliers as to how they need to price these drugs post the gazette notification by the government on October 21,” the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) said in a statement.
Having said that, the SLCPI said many of its member companies, which are supplying drugs within the list stipulated in the gazette notification, have reacted fast and have complied with the new drug prices as per regulations. Meanwhile, the SLCPI advised all patients to consult their doctors immediately in case there is an unavailability of the brands they were regularly using in order to get proper advice on how to do a change over, if necessary.
The SLCPI said it has already requested its members to adjust prices to be in line with the new gazette notification and compensate the trade to ensure continuity of product availability, despite some having to absorb huge losses, in order to avoid inconveniencing patients. “The companies face severe loss, since the supply chain holds an average of four to five months stock purchased at higher prices; an issue that needs to be resolved. This is one of the main reasons why the SLCPI requested a grace period to ensure smooth transition,” the SLCPI said.