More drugs get price cut

The National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) would issue a Gazette Notification to reduce prices of yet another batch of 26 essential drugs next Friday (25) a spokesman of the NMRA said yesterday.

This is in addition to the reduction of prices of 48 essential drugs in November 2016 by the NMRA.

The new regulations would apply to the branded and generic versions of the listed drugs bringing the number of drugs reduced in price to 74, he added.

The Spokesman said the new price formula would be announced based on the National Drug Policy which Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne enacted in 2016 after eminent medical professional Prof. Senaka Bibile introduced it in the 60s.

“All drugs that were brought under the price formula were essential drugs regularly prescribed by doctors to heart diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, kidney ailments, hypertension and painkillers,” he said.

The Spokesman said with the price reduction in 2016, the monthly medical bill of patients, who regularly purchase drugs, had been slashed by half.

“The low health bill has also provided an opportunity for patients to buy the full course of drugs. In many instances, they do not purchase the full prescription they cannot afford it,” he stressed.

“For instance, the price of a 5 mg tablet of Amlodipine will come down to Rs. 15.32 from the current price of Rs. 21 and 50 mg tablet Losartan will be reduced to Rs. 10.30 from Rs. 28.00.

“Prices of other drugs such as Atorvastatin has come down to Rs. 17.63 from RS. 41.00, Clopidogrel to Rs. 15.27 from Rs. 20.50, Clopidogrel to Rs. 15.27 from Rs. 20.50, Metformin 500 mg to Rs. 10,00 from Rs.11.25 and Gliclazide 80 mg to Rs. 9.28 from Rs. 19,00,” he said.

“This formula is only a model that will be used to prepare the new drug prices and the new system. Based on the above formula, an expenditure for drugs for a heart patient or a diabetic patient will come down to Rs. 79.05 from Rs. 159.50. The monthly drug bill will come down to Rs. 2371.50 from Rs. 4,785.00,” he stressed.

“All drugs imported to Sri Lanka will bring under the drug formula restricting the profit to maximum 60% and State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) will be modernized in two years to produce all drugs required to Sri Lanka,” he said.

“Discussions are underway with 23 investors to set up drug producing factories. A new price formula will also be introduced for all healthcare facilities provided by the private hospitals and nursing homes shortly,” he said.

The Spokesman added that once the new Quality Assurance Lab was constructed with the aid from China, the Health Ministry would be able to prohibit prescribing drugs under the trade name.

He added at least 1,000 trade names were covered under the price formula of 47 drugs.