CAIRO: The Administrative Court yesterday adjourned hearings in the case raised against a decree which radically altered the way medicines are priced.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) lodged a case against ministerial decree 373 last October, on the grounds that in passing it, the minister of health exceeded his powers by introducing a fundamental change that undermines the right to health as guaranteed by the constitution.
During yesterday’s court session the Administrative Court adjourned proceedings until April 27, when a verdict will be delivered. EIPR says that judge Adel Farghaly rejected a motion submitted by government lawyers for another adjournment so that it can present defense pleadings.
Both sides will be allowed to present written memorandums to the court within the next two weeks.
The new pricing system links the prices of both imported and locally-produced drugs to prices in the international market, which EIPR says will have a “catastrophic effect on access to affordable medicine in Egypt.
The Ministry of Health meanwhile insists that prices will not increase under the new system. A central aspect of the debate surrounding the new decree has been whether its provisions will apply retrospectively, to the thousands of drugs already on the Egyptian market before the decree came into effect.
In December Assistant Minister of Health for pharmaceutical affairs Kamal Sabra was categorical in statements made to Daily News Egypt that the decree would not be applied retrospectively, adding “I’d love to backdate it because it would bring prices down.