The Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, and Appliances Chamber in the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) has revealed that companies working in the pharmaceuticals sector that were included in the decision to increase the prices of their products are willing to approve the decision made by the Ministry of Health on Sunday to prohibit effacing older prices printed on pharmaceutical packaging and replace them with new prices.
The Central Administration of Pharmaceuticals Affairs (CAPA) affiliated to the Ministry of Health has notified the companies in a memo that its previous decision to allow effacing the old prices on the packaging and replacing them with new ones will be suspended.
The note pointed out that as an affixation to the decision made by the Ministry of Health to increase the prices of 3,010 types of pharmaceuticals, based on the decision made mid-January, the companies are prohibited from effacing the prices printed on old packages. It added that “new packages should be printed with the new prices on them”.
Dr. Ali Ouf, head of the Pharmaceuticals Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chamber of Commerce (FEDCOC), said that the federation was against the CAPA’s primary decision to efface old prices. He stressed that the FEDCOC will be filing a grievance to head of the CAPA, Rasha Ziada, against the decision.
“While the decision was a way to help patients who purchase the medications subject to the recent price increase, accommodate the increase and create a transitional phase between the old and new prices, it will make medication less available for patients as printing new packages will take time; nearly three months,” Ouf said.
He explained that the paper used for making the packs, as well as the ink used to print, are both imported in large amounts and paid for in US dollars, which means that the decision to make new packages will harm companies. “The stock of packs is bought to be sufficient for a specific period of time, and changes made to the long-term plans set up by pharmaceutical companies will cause tremendous losses as well as affect the availability of pharmaceuticals for patients,” Ouf pointed out.
He stressed that the party which made the decision must bear the financial burdens for it, not the companies.
On the other hand, a source in the Pharmaceuticals Chamber stated that the decision is good and will contribute to controlling the medication market and prevent confusion between citizens and pharmacists despite the losses borne by pharmaceutical companies.
“Sources explained that companies will have to print new packages and bear the losses, and will be forced to get rid of the stock materials used for packaging and printing,” according to the source.
Dr. Ahmed Emad El-din, Minister of Health, announced mid-January that 15% of local medications’ prices, and 20% of imported medications’ prices will increase based on varying price segments.