By Staff Reporter
The health ministry on Friday announced that the price of almost 2,000 medicines had been reduced on average by around 15.5 per cent but in some cases the reductions were as high as 80 per cent.
The new prices will come into effect on Monday. The ministry said further reductions of 8-10 per cent would be put in place in March. Also from now on the revision of drugs prices will be done once a year instead of every two years. The recommendations are in line with a report last year from the World Health Organisation that put medicine prices in Cyprus among the highest in the world.
An updated price list includes the maximum retail and wholesale prices of 5,374 medicines, of which 1,968 were reduced while 442 are to remain at current levels. Another 333 drugs were already under a price freeze, which is to remain in force. The remainder, those non-prescription medicines whose price is below €10 are exempt from price controls.
The reductions include for instance a drop in the price of Zithromax antibiotic by over 50 per cent, cholesterol pills Lipitor and Zocor by around 30 per cent, medication for nervous system disorders – Keppra and Ebixa – by around 40 per cent, and musculoskeletal drugs such as Fosamax by 16 per cent.
The ministry said other changes underway included legislation concerning the composition of the audit committee on pharmaceutical prices.
“The primary concern and goal of the health minister is to ensure the unhindered access of patients to medication at affordable prices,” the ministry said in a statement. “Achieving this goal is paramount, especially in view of the imminent implementation of the NHS.” This would also lead to further future reductions.
The ministry said it would continue the social dialogue with all stakeholders, such as pharmacists, drug importers, manufacturers and patients’ groups.
By Staff Reporter