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Prices of more than 1,000 medicines, pharmaceutical products reduced

By JT - Jun 13,2019 - Last updated at Jun 13,2019

AMMAN — The government on Wednesday announced reductions in the prices of 1,127 medicinal products and 89 other pharmaceutical preparations ranging between 18 and 68 per cent.

The decision was made based on recommendations by a government committee tasked with the revision of medication prices, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra. 

The reductions were announced during a press conference on Wednesday to present the recommendations of a study conducted by the panel during Ramadan, which tackled the mechanism of pricing medication, the resulting profit margins and areas of error, in addition to the existence of a “few monopolies” over certain medications that are sold at exaggerated prices.

Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) Director General Hayel Obeidat, who heads the committee, said that medicines for heart conditions will witness a 30 per cent decrease, diabetes and digestive-system medication prices will be decreased by 50 per cent, antibiotics by 46 per cent and medicines for neurological and psychiatric conditions by 15 per cent.

Additionally, the prices of respiratory medications will be reduced by 32 per cent, medication for muscle conditions by 30 per cent and medication for oncology treatment by 10 per cent, he added. 

He pointed out that the updated prices for all medicinal products will be published on the JFDA’s website soon. 

The panel also recommended a 20-per cent decrease to the prices of medications on the rationalised drugs list.

Health Minister Saad Jaber highlighted that the committee will continue revising the prices of medication periodically, stressing that the cost of medical products is “not fixed” and will continue to decrease.

The minister underscored that the committee will review the prices of approximately 6,000 to 8,000 medicinal products this year, and assured that the price list will see further reductions.

He said that an announcement will be made soon about the savings rate for citizens that will result from the recent measures. 

Jaber explained that the government is aware of the magnitude of the challenges faced by the healthcare sector, citing continuing efforts that seek to improve the quality of services in accordance with short, intermediate and long-term plans.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Jumana Ghunaimat said that the letter of designation to the government stated the mitigation of citizens’ burdens as a core principle.

She highlighted that decreasing the prices of medication is part of a chain of “tangible” government procedures to fulfil the aforementioned principle.

A few of these actions include tax exemptions on agricultural production inputs and outputs, in addition to tax reductions on cancer medication and addressing the gharimat (indebted women) issue. 

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said earlier in the day that providing medication and regulating its prices is an “utmost priority” for the government, under the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah. 

The King on Tuesday, during a meeting with Razzaz, Jaber and Obeidat, issued directives to take immediate measures to reduce the prices of medication, stressing that “when it comes to Jordanians’ health and their medication, there can be no compromises”.

The government has been keeping up with citizens’ complaints about the unreasonable hikes in the prices of certain medication, Razzaz underscored. 

“We need to impose strict monitoring,” Razzaz said, stressing that the implementation of the committee’s recommendations is a “group effort”. 

He called on professional associations and the private sector, which have a “shared interest”, to lend the matter the attention it requires.

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