Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Health has reduced prices of 142 innovative medicines. The price reductions, ranging from 2% to 66%, will come into effect on January 1, 2016.
According to officials, the cut in prices will be done as the Ministry of Health implements its 6th cycle of medicine-price reduction initiative, which started in July 2011. In all, 13 international pharmaceutical companies responsible for the manufacture and distribution of these drugs and medical products, with regional headquarters in the UAE, are participating in this 6th cycle of price reduction.
These medicines target a variety of ailments and conditions such as ear, nose and throat, central nervous system, endocrine disorders, eye, vaccines, immunosuppressant, gynaecology, urinary tract infections, anaesthesia, and nutrition.
Dr Ameen Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public health policy and licensing at the Ministry of Health, explains: “We want to improve health care and make medicines accessible to the lowest income-group person who may not have an insurance cover. This is a strategic initiative demonstrating a very fruitful collaboration between pharmacy companies and the Ministry of Health. It is based on a voluntary policy of price reduction so that all stakeholders in health care – patients, pharmaceuticals, health care providers, health ministry and the insurances – benefit from this and eventually it leads to better healthcare outcomes for our country.”
With this initiative, the UAE had one of the lowest prices of medical drugs in the GCC region. According to Dr Ameen Al Amiri, “nearly 80% of our innovative medicines are priced the lowest in the region. By the 7th initiative, which we plan to introduce in June 2016, we would have covered price reduction in all innovative drugs after which we intend to introduce price reduction in the generic drug categories, too. However, since the generic drugs are already priced low, the percentage decrease might not be too drastic.”