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UAE Slashes Prices of 205 Drugs

UAE Slashes Prices of 205 Drugs

The Ministry of Health has reduced the prices of 14 drugs used for the treatment of diabetes in a move to make medicines affordable.

The UAE’s health ministry has announced the price reduction of 205 drugs, including 14 used for the treatment of diabetes, state news agency WAM reported.

The price reduction is part of the government’s efforts to make medicines more affordable in the country. The ministry said that the current move follows a series of meetings between the authorities and a number of local and international drug companies.

Abdul Rahman al Owais, the UAE’s minister of health, said that a comparison study of all the drug prices has been made with the neighbouring countries and international manufacturers. He added that the study showed the importance of balancing medicine prices with other countries, especially the new and innovative drugs that are manufactured by international pharmaceuticals.

The UAE has the highest per-capita medicine expenditure in the Middle East, according to a report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). A study across the region also found that drug prices in the country were 23 times higher than World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels.

Authorities have been slashing medicine prices since 2011 in order to stem the country’s rising drug costs.

The Ministry of Health first announced a reduction in the cost of drugs in June 2011 when it slashed the prices of 565 medicines by 55 per cent. Further reductions were announced in November 2011 when the prices of 115 generic medicines were cut by 35 per cent.

The UAE’s biggest reduction in drug prices took place in June 2013 when health authorities cut prices of 6,632 medicines, including drugs used for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, anti-depressants, asthma and anti-virals for HIV, by 40 per cent.

Authorities also announced the price reduction of 192 vital drugs by 60 per cent in late 2013. Drugs whose prices were reduced included those used for the treatment of ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and viral diseases.

“Providing drugs at reasonable prices is one of the ministry’s priorities within its healthcare services,” said Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant under-secretary for medical practices and licensing.

“Through its strategic partnerships with local, regional and international drugs companies, the Ministry of Health has applied four initiatives to reduce drug prices since 2011.”

He added that the pricing system in the Ministry of Health depends on the regular analysis and amendments of drug prices according to the latest updates in the pharmaceutical market such as prices of similar medicines and other economic factors.

Dr. Mohammed Salim Al Olama, under-secretary of the Ministry of Health said that the recent drug price analysis was also conducted to support private-public partnerships in the UAE’s pharmaceutical market.

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