KUWAIT CITY, Sept 23: Minister of Health Dr Jamal Al-Harbi has refuted rumors spread on various media platforms about the increase in prices of medicines, stressing that Kuwait remains committed to the decision of the Supreme Council of Health Ministers in GCC countries to standardize the cost of importing medicines.
In response to the questions of MP Saleh Ashour on the implementation of the decision of the Supreme Council of Health Ministers in GCC countries, Al-Harbi explained the decision states unification of the importing price (CIF — cost, insurance, freight) of medicines in the GCC by using one currency and adopting the approved import cost in Saudi Arabia because it is the cheapest CIF in most cases.
He said that in the event the medicine is registered in any of the member-states or the lower price is considered, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC countries will implement the CIF (cost of exporting medicines including insurance and shipping) which was adopted in the Gulf in 2015 according to the treatment groups specified by the Gulf Committee for Standardization of Medicines.
He asserted the information spread on various media platforms is incorrect, indicating it is not true that a decision has been taken to increase prices of some medicines by 45 percent. In fact, the prices of 1,034 medicines published in ‘Kuwait Today’ on June 21, 2017 were reduced as per the agreement of GCC countries, he added.
■ He reiterated there is no intention to increase the prices of medicines or food supplements. On the contrary, the percentage of profitability has been reduced based on several ministerial decisions as follows:
■ Ministerial Decree No. 26/1986 on determining acceptable profit — not more than 70 percent of the importing cost (CIF) including delivery by land, sea and air.
■ Ministerial Decision No. 56/2010 dated 29/3/2010 on revising the percentage to be 50 percent of the importing cost (CIF) including delivery by land, sea and air.
■ Ministerial Decree No. 42/ 2013 issued on Feb 12, 2013 on reducing profitability percentage by 45 percent which will be added to the CIF standard price in the Gulf.
In an unrelated issue, Al-Harbi denied the purported plan of the ministry to hire a lawyer to recover losses from the Health Office of Kuwait in Frankfurt, Germany. He appealed to news websites and other media outlets to verify information prior to publication of any report to avoid misleading the public.
Meanwhile, MP Faisal Al-Kandari stressed the need to pass the law on reducing the required service period for civil servants to retire from 30 years to 25 years. He believes this law, once passed, will be beneficial for employees who spent most of their lives in government work.
He argued this is also one way of pumping new blood in government institutions, such that competent youths will be given a chance to prove their leadership capabilities and generate job opportunities for the unemployed. He also called for cancellation of the decision requiring employees, who have been in service for 25 years, to register their attendance through the fingerprint system. He said these employees should be rewarded for their long service, instead of imposing the fingerprint attendance system on them.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff