Prices of 23 essential drugs slashed | Sunday Observer

Prices of 23 essential drugs slashed

The prices of 10 expensive cancer drugs, 13 other varieties of essential pharmaceutical drugs as well as two medical devices were reduced with effect from midnight yesterday, September 1, Minister of Health, Dr Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

The generic names of the ten high-cost selected medicines that have been controlled through a price ceiling are Trastuzumab, Bevacizumab, Rituximab, Mycophenolate Mofetil, Pegasparaginase (Pegaspargase), Pemetrexed Disodium, Bortezomib, Peginterferon Alfa 2a, Abiraterone Acetate and Pegfilgrastim.

The maximum retail price of the 3750 IU strength Pegasparaginase (Pegaspargase) injection will be Rs. 140,000 while the 440 mg Trastuzumab injection will be Rs. 95,000.

“To-date, we have controlled the price of more than 1,000 drugs, saving Rs 4.4 billion for patients,” the Health Minister said. The Gazette notification issued by the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) to reduce the prices of these drugs was signed by Dr. Senaratne on Thursday.

The new Maximum Retail Price (MRP) limits in respect of the scheduled drugs would also be applicable to all brand names, generic names, dosage forms and strengths of the scheduled drugs, the gazette notification stated.

The generic names of the thirteen medicines reduced yesterday are Ceftazidime, Ceftriaxone, Cefotaxime, Fluconazole, Insulin Soluble Human, Glimepiride, Sitagliptin, Tamsulosin, Montelukast, Pregabalin, Topiramate, Lamotrigine and Atorvastatin.

The MRP of the two medical devices, Blood Glucose Monitoring System has been set at Rs. 2,750 per unit while the test strips for the blood glucose monitoring system is Rs. 50 per strip.

In October, 2016, the Government reduced the prices of some 48 pharmaceutical drugs including the drugs used for diabetes, heart disease, and other related diseases.

Meanwhile, plans are afoot to introduce a new price formula 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 1960s.

Recently, the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) called upon the government to set up a fair and transparent pricing mechanism which factors the impact of US Dollar appreciation against the Rupee, similar to the pricing formulae applied on petroleum products and domestic LPG.

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