x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Third batch of medicine price cuts

Prices of more than 100 drugs will be reduced to bring them in line with other Arab countries.

DUBAI // Prices will be reduced for more than 100 drugs from January 1.

The reductions cover 115 generic drugs and range between 5 and 30 per cent, Dr Amin Al Amiri, the assistant undersecretary for medical practice and licensing at the Ministry of Health, said yesterday.

"This is to support the poor patients who are in need of these medications, especially those who have chronic diseases and require this medication for all their lives," Dr Al Amiri said.

Drugs covered include some for hypertension and asthma, as well as antibiotics, anti-depressants, anaesthetics and antivirals.

This is the third batch of price reductions after the ministry announced cuts for 565 branded drugs in July and September.

"This decision was made following an 18-month study … comparing the prices of medicines in the UAE with those of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon," Dr Al Amiri said. "We found [UAE] prices are much higher."

But he said prices on recently licensed drugs have meant the UAE now has the region's cheapest medicine.

A fourth round of reductions and a unified GCC pricing policy are expected to be announced at the start of next year, he said.

mismail@thenational.ae