Muscat: Prices of nearly 2,884 drugs are likely to come down by as much as 40 per cent across all the GCC countries in the near future, as efforts are on to bring uniformity in drug price structures in the Gulf.
The Pricing Team of the GCC met last week to discuss ways to fix prices of pharmaceutical drugs. Drug prices in Oman are considered to be the highest in the GCC, followed by Kuwait, while it is the lowest in
Saudi Arabia. Prices of medicines used for treatment of eye ailments and malignancies and those required for anaesthesia, immunology, blood and nutrition are all set to dip.
Majlis Al Shura has formed a committee to keep a tab on the drug prices in Oman. Majlis Al Shura Chairman Khalid Al Ma'awali extended support to the GCC move to unify the pharmaceutical prices and hoped that a decision in this regard would be taken soon.
Many Omanis cannot afford the medicines due to absolute control on the entire drug trade by some pharmaceutical companies. These firms are also the main suppliers of drugs to the government hospitals.
The decision will be taken after standardising Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF), using dollar as the common currency, and cutting down profit margins, not letting these to exceed 45 per cent of the CIF prices, said a health ministry official.
While some drugs will cost 40 per cent less, others will see prices coming down by 10 to 20 per cent when the decision is implemented in October, an official at the Ministry of Health said.
The Ministry of Health has asked all the pharmacies operating in Oman to provide the list of prices of drugs so that consumers could compare prices.
Observers believe that since Oman does not have pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, most drugs are imported and monopolistic practices rule the roost.