GCC countries to standardize medication pricing next year

Updated 22 August 2013
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GCC countries to standardize medication pricing next year

A mechanism to standardize medicine prices in member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to be put in place by November ahead of a meeting of Gulf Health Ministers early next year to endorse the price list.
The entire scheme is aimed at reducing and maintaining uniform prices of medicines and profit margins.
Dr. Fahad Al-Dosari, head of medicinal pricing at the executive office of the Council of Ministers of Health of the GCC, explained that the project will be implemented in stages and that the complete process for arriving at an agreement for uniform pricing may take more than four years.
“Medicine pricing is guided by three factors, import price, agents’ pricing policy and the company price of the drug,” Al-Dosari said, adding that all these factors will be considered so as to reach a standardized imports procurement price for Gulf states.
“Prices of medicines in Saudi Arabia are the least expensive considering the market size and the state’s policy in establishing fixed prices that control its markets for a long time now,” he said, revealing that the Gulf Committee at the Executive Office, along with representatives of the Food and Drugs Commission of the GCC countries, was in the process of completing the final phase of the project, which includes preparing a study on the new system of the executive and regulatory list.
“Several rounds of meetings were held by the committee, which helped in coming up with ideas on regulations and proposals for the system. These will be discussed and conclusions arrived at thereafter,” said Al Dosari. He noted that the project was actually in place for the past year and that the committee was currently in the process of completing the list of prices and then discussing it with the companies and agents concerned.
“Prices of innovative drugs will be considered and focused on in the project,” he said, explaining that the aim was to reduce its prices through a specific mechanism, which will then bring down prices of similar drugs over a period of time. “Once all phases of the project are completed, the standardized list will be adopted. It will maintain stability of prices and availability of medicines,” he said, adding that profit margins for agents and pharmacies will also be reduced.
Meanwhile, Dr. Omar Al-Sayyed, assistant undersecretary at the Kuwait Health Ministry, said the standardized list of prices was still under study by the Gulf Joint Committee, but should be completed by the end of this year. “It will be submitted as a unified project to Gulf health ministers, after which each country would embark on implementing it according to the situation on the ground, but it is binding nonetheless,” he added.
“Price disparity among Gulf markets is contingent upon market size. More than 95 percent of drug prices in the Saudi market are lower than other countries because of large import quantities and sale prices in such a big market. This is one goal of the project, to unify prices of imports.”
He pointed out that the pricing study will give companies the right to object if the terms are not suitable. “The committee for this aspect will consider all actions prior to the implementation of the list, so that a final agreement can be reached on the prices of others drugs for which prices have not been fixed yet, and to reduce them consequently.”
Once the list of prices is endorsed and adopted, any violating agent or pharmacy will be legally held accountable.
It is worth mentioning that the Gulf Committee of Health Ministers’ Council for GCC States held its ninth meeting of the action team of medicine pricing in Dubai last May, in which representatives of Food and Drugs Commissions in Gulf States also participated.
Consecutive meetings discussed reducing prices of medicines with the cooperation of pharmaceuticals, as well as adopting profit margins according to the decision of the Gulf Supreme Council in its 27th session held recently in Riyadh. During the meeting, members agreed on unified prices for imported drugs, their shipment and insurance costs with one currency, the US Dollar.


Iran will sell oil, break US sanctions, President Rouhani says

Updated 05 November 2018
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Iran will sell oil, break US sanctions, President Rouhani says

  • US reimposed sanctions on Monday, but Iran pledges to defy them
  • Monday's actions mark an end to the 2015 nuclear deal reached under President Obama

DUBAI: Iran will sell its oil and break sanctions reimposed by the United States on its vital energy and banking sectors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told economists at a meeting broadcast live on state television on Monday.

“America wanted to cut to zero Iran’s oil sales ... but we will continue to sell our oil ... to break sanctions,” Rouhani said.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed a first round of sanctions on Iran in August.

The deal saw most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran lifted in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under UN surveillance.