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Kuwait one of cheapest countries in GCC for medicines and pharmaceutical products

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Prices of some medicines may be cut by mid-year

Dr Heba Al-Shayji

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 7: Dr Heba Al-Shayji, Head of the Medicines Pricing Division in the Pharmaceutical Control Sector in Ministry of Health, confirmed the possibility of a new price reduction for some medicines by mid-year, expecting that the list of discounts would include several drug groups, reports Al-Rai daily.

Dr Al-Shayji in an interview with the daily said a number of factors depend on the process of reducing the price, including the end of the period of patenting the drug, reducing its price in one of the countries, or renewing its registration as well as registering a generic material for it.

She explained that the process of reviewing the prices of medicines and pharmaceutical preparations is carried out on a continuous basis, and the pricing process depends on several factors, the most important of which are the prices of materials in 30 reference countries that are appropriate for Kuwait given the population composition or economic level.

She added the Medicines Inspection Department is the authority responsible for following up the pharmacies ‘application of new drug prices, and accounting for violators, and that any patient can contribute to reporting any illegal practices in pharmacies, or the pharmacies’ failure to adhere to the officially announced prices, through the website of the Ministry of Health.

She pointed out that Kuwait is actually one of the cheapest countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council in the prices of medicines and pharmaceutical products, and most countries are committed to applying the unified Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) prices in the Gulf.

Dr Al-Shayji revealed that the process of standardizing drug prices began in March 2015, and that some drugs ranged from 10 to 60 percent reduction, according to the rates approved in the Gulf. She added the recent rise in the prices of innovative medicines is due to the fact that companies want to compensate for what they have spent on research and scientific studies to discover these drugs, and that the prices start to decline after the end of their patent.

Dr Shayji indicated that registered and priced medicines sold in Kuwait are 5,062 medicines and 2,191 nutritional supplements. Dr Al-Shaiji confirmed that the citizens can inquire about the prices of medicines and nutritional supplements through the website of the Ministry of Health, and can also report the difference in the price of the drug from the official price or report drugs that are not on the site but sold in pharmacies.

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