Saturday, September 06, 2008

Prices of patented drugs set to decline

I was under the impression that most prescription medications were relatively cheaper in South Africa. However, this does not appear to be the case as their government is mandating lower prices based on comparisons with four other countries, one of which is Canada.

From the Business Report (South Africa):
Half of the originator medicines available in South Africa should be cheaper by February, which is the deadline for complying with interim international benchmarking prices.

Anban Pillay, the head of pricing at the department of health, said yesterday that half of these drugs were more expensive locally than in Spain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, the four countries against which South Africa is being benchmarked.

Pillay said the four countries had been chosen because they had pricing systems that ensured the viability of pharmaceutical companies while offering their citizens affordable medicines.

"They also have respect for intellectual property, which is important," he said.

Pillay said the differences in price ranged between 10 percent and 50 percent. The sums consumers could save would be known in about a month.

The government has published a notice detailing the methodology to be used when benchmarking patented medicines. Interested parties have 30 days to comment.

Pillay said not all drug prices would come down. "About half of the drugs sold in our market are more expensive than in those countries, so about half will be [affected]." ...more

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