x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Prescription medicine prices to drop

The Ministry of Health is to reduce the price of prescription drugs and other medicines from July 1.

DUBAI // The Ministry of Health announced today that it will greatly reduce the price of thousands of pharmaceutical drugs and other medicines.

In the first stage, the price reduction of 67 of the drugs will take effect on July 1. Price reductions on another 498 drugs in that stage will go into effect on September 1.

In the second stage, to be announced by the middle of Ramadan or after Ramadan, the price of about 2,000 generic medicines will be reduced, officials said.

There are 8,500 medicines registered in the UAE, including conventional medicines, herbs and food supplements.

In the first stage of the price reduction, the ministry has concentrated on innovative medicines. The price reduction in this stage will be from 5 per cent to 60 per cent. Twenty pharmaceutical companies have already reduced the prices of some of their drugs.

In the second stage, officials are looking to reduce the price of about 2,000 generic medicines that have been produced in the US and Arab countries. Those price changes will be announced either by the middle of Ramadan or after Ramadan. The amount of the reductions in the second phase has not yet been announced.

Also today, Ministry of Health officials announced that they have licensed the world’s first oral medication for multiple sclerosis.

The UAE is the first country in the Gulf region to approve the medicine.

It has also been approved in the US, Russia, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Switzerland and Europe.

The medication costs about Dh10,800 per pack. A representative from the head of the patient affairs committee of the UAE MS support group welcomed the introduction of the medication since it provides another opportunity to treat MS patients.

“... There is the burden on residents in the UAE, which is affording expensive MS treatment,” said Maha Raisi, the director of patient affairs at the UAE MS Support Group.

Although the new drug has already been made available in a few select pharmacies and hospitals in Dubai, credited to backing from the Dubai Health Authority, it was not announced as an officially registered medication by the Ministry of Health until today.