Pharma importers urge price hike for life-saving drugs – The Morning

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  • Anticipate an upward adjustment of 18%

The Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) anticipates an urgent upward price adjustment of 18% on all price-controlled products as per a written request made to the Chairman of the Pricing Committee of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) on 1 September 2021, while commending the Health Ministry’s decision to increase the control price of paracetamol. 

“Eighty-five percent of pharmaceutical products consumed in the country are imported. All essential drugs have been under price control since October 2016 onwards, without an equitable and transparent pricing mechanism,” noted officials at the SLCPI, adding: “Steep changes in exchange rate need to be adjusted through a sustainable pricing mechanism.”

The SLCPI pointed out that the importation of essential and life-saving medicines continues to be challenging, given Sri Lanka’s current macroeconomic realities and price increases in global raw material active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). A depreciating rupee, increasing logistics costs, and inflation have compounded high import costs. 

The SLCPI noted that it is worried about continued access for patients to therapies that treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. NCDs cause over 80% of all deaths in Sri Lanka, and thus, the SLCPI requested policymakers to adjust the price of other essential medicines currently under price control, to ensure continued availability of these drugs in the market. 

Highlighting patient needs and wellbeing as the industry’s most critical priority, the SLCPI requested authorities to consider designing and implementing a pricing mechanism that would periodically review market prices, import costs, and other relevant access issues to prevent medicine shortages. 

The SLCPI serves as the representative of over 60 members who account for more than 80% of the private pharmaceutical industry, spanning manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers. These stakeholders supply Sri Lankan patients with 1,200 molecules from 435 manufacturers from across the world.

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