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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Government begins reversing its stance on meds prices

Is the government reversing its stance on raising med prices? After swearing a blood oath back in May to not allow retail prices of meds to rise, Health Minister Ahmed Rady has apparently promised pharma companies that 10% of meds in the market will see prices rise by 50% every six months, Al Borsa reports. Rady is also said to have promised that all production inputs will be exempt from the value-added tax (VAT) and is offering discounts on utilities bills and customs breaks, measures we had noted that the House of Representatives was looking into last week. The House Health Committee will reportedly be putting in a formal request to the Finance Ministry for the VAT exemptions, the newspaper reports.

Manufacturers are reportedly driving a hard bargain, having rejected the proposal during a meeting Rady held with some 20 pharma companies a week ago Saturday and at another this past Thursday. They are apparently pushing for the frequency of the 50% price rises to double to every three months. Rady is expected to hold another meeting today with 10 manufacturers to discuss the proposal.

The change in tone came after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail acknowledged on Thursday that the burden on manufacturers “was exacerbated by the float.” The PM said cabinet was working with all sides to reach a solution that would see an end to the shortage of key products in the market.

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