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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Health Ministry, pharma companies jockey for leverage at meds price talks

The Health Ministry will not be raising medicine prices until the exchange rate stabilizes, Health Minister Ahmed Rady said at a press conference on Monday, Al Borsa reports. Straying from the more conciliatory tone reported in the media during talks with pharma companies on raising prices since the float, Rady went on to state that pharma companies have been raking-in the profits until recently “and so must now stand with the state.” Medicine prices are tightly controlled by the Health Ministry.

Ministry denies “10-50” price increase offer: The ministry has denied reports we noted on Sunday that Rady had earlier offered to let prices of 10% of all medicines rise up to 50% every six months, AMAY reported. The ministry did acknowledge that talks are taking place all week with goal of hammering out an agreement by Thursday. After the backlash in the media following word of Rady’s offer, it’s not surprising the minister took a tough line yesterday, going so far as to lambaste 10 manufacturers for allegedly not showing up for talks.

VAT exemption could be in the cards: Rady did say he might speak with the Finance Ministry about exempting all production inputs for the industry — not just active ingredients — from the value-added tax.

The state of the talks now: We may have a case of he said, she said here as pharma sources tell Al Borsa that it was the companies that rejected Rady’s offer. At previous meetings, foreign companies were insisting on 60% price increase across the board, sources said, while domestic companies could have lived with 15-20% of pharma products rising in price every three months, unnamed sources tell Daily News Egypt. Sources tell the newspaper that a number of execs from international manufacturers will meet in Dubai to discuss developments in the case. Until the Health Ministry issues its statement on the state of the talks on Thursday, expect to see more of jockeying in the media.

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