The pharmaceutical industry relieved by the adjustment of paracetamol prices

  • reminds the government. that other life-saving medicines also require similar attention
  • Importers call for prices of 71 price-controlled molecules, including 10 anti-cancer molecules, to be adjusted to ensure continued availability
  • NCDs account for 80% of deaths in Sri Lanka; continued importation of essential drugs is essential

The Sri Lankan Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) yesterday welcomed the decision of the Ministry of Health to increase the control price of paracetamol. At the same time, the SLCPI also called on policy makers to adjust the price of other essential medicines currently subject to price controls, to ensure the continued availability of these medicines in the market.

In this context, the SLCPI provides for an urgent price revision upwards of 18% on all price-controlled products upon written request addressed to the President of the Price Commission of

the National Medicines Regulatory Authority on September 1, 2021.

“Paracetamol is widely used to treat symptoms of Omicron variant and dengue fever, two growing health problems in the country. An increase in the control price allows importers and local manufacturers to ensure that the drug does not go out of stock in pharmacies,” the Chamber said. It will now cost Rs. 2.30 per tablet, down from Rs. 1.71 – a 35% increase.

The SLCPI is also concerned about the continued access of patients to therapies that treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. NCDs cause more than 80% of all deaths in Sri Lanka.

The SLCPI highlighted that importation of essential and life-saving medicines continues to be challenging, given the current macroeconomic realities in Sri Lanka and rising global raw material (API – Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) prices. Rupee depreciation, rising logistics costs and inflation have compounded high import costs.

“85% of the pharmaceutical products consumed in the country are imported. All essential medicines have been under price control since October 2016, without a fair and transparent pricing mechanism,” SLCPI officials emphasized. Sharp changes in exchange rates need to be adjusted through a sustainable pricing mechanism.

Highlighting the needs and well-being of patients as the industry’s most critical priority, the Chamber asked authorities to consider designing and implementing a pricing mechanism that would periodically review market prices, import costs and other relevant access issues to prevent drug shortages.

Eleanor C. William