Egyptians struggle to get medicine
CAIRO: The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) reported in late April that the Egyptian Administrative Court ruled to stop the introduction of a new drug pricing system, which connects between the price of medicine in Egypt and the prices in foreign countries. The rights organization had filed a lawsuit in October 2009, demanding an end to this policy and the decision of the Minister of Health, saying that the decision to stop the implementation of the new system “would result into very high prices of many medicines. “
Adel Ramadan, a lawyer with the Egyptian NGO said “this provision protects the citizen from violating the right to obtain the right medicine, which is an integral part of the right to health and the right to life and the government is committed to implement the ruling immediately.”
The Ministry of Health began endorsing a ministerial decree that was challenged by EIPR in September 2009, while the Egyptian initiative warned of a potential rise in the prices of branded generics in particular as a result of the Minister’s decision, “the drugs on which citizens largely depend on, because of its low price.
“The system was imposed by resolution adopted in determining the price of drugs at a discount rate ranging from 30 to 60 percent of the price of the original drug is expensive in contrast to the old pricing system, which set the price of drugs based on the price cost margins with the addition of a fixed profit,” EIPR said in a press statement.
The decision of the new bid, despite the findings of a study conducted by the Ministry of Health and published in 2004, which confirmed that the price of the original drug is on average three times the actual price.
Dina Iskandar, an EIPR researcher, confirmed that the new pricing system has “defects, which makes it impracticable and has loopholes that allow pharmaceutical companies to wrap around the pricing rules and get the highest price of the drug regardless of the true cost.”
The NGO stressed that any system of drug pricing must be based on “affirming the right of citizens to obtain medication without discrimination as to maintain the right to health and right to life.”
It added that the responsibility of Ministry of Health is not “just about the adoption of a system of pricing, but also ensuring that the system provides all citizens access to medicine at affordable prices and high quality.
“The initiative called for to expand the circle of participants in the development of the pricing system to include citizens and civil society institutions are making effective contributions in a framework of transparency.” Republished With Permission From Bikya Masr