By Nigar Orujova
The government begun to regulate the prices of medicines starting from September 15, and so far lowered prices for over 1057 essential medicines. However, the issue has raised some problems in a number of pharmacies.
Prices for all medicines on sale in Azerbaijan will be adjusted until the middle of next year, Deputy Health Minister Elsever Agayev said commenting on the issue.
The process of price regulation has just begun and problems are inevitable, he noted.
“There are certain problems, namely improper price tags, medicines that have not been registered in Azerbaijan. Addressing these issues requires time. I believe that all the problems will soon be resolved,” said Agayev.
He added that, in accordance with a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers, mechanisms have been prepared to regulate the prices of medicines registered in the country.
Today, 57 percent of medicines registered in Azerbaijan are produced in Europe, 26 percent in the CIS countries, including 12 percent made in Russia. The small proportion is the medicine produced in Asian countries, Agayev said.
“The Health Ministry aims to ensure that pharmaceuticals for sale in Azerbaijan be inexpensive and of high quality,” he noted.
The government had decided to strengthen state control over the pharmaceutical market since March and the process of price controls on essential medicines is expected to be completed before the end of 2015.
However, after the entry into force of the new prices, a number of pharmacies in Baku have not reduced prices for medicines, pharmacy workers report.
Namely, the prices were not reduced on medicines produced in Russia. The reduction in prices was notably on medicines made in South-East Asia, including India, according to the reports.
Prices, albeit slightly, reduced on medicines produced in Europe. The prices for similar medicines from Russian remained unchanged.
They also noted that medicine prices are being reduced gradually, under a single scheme.
The Tariff Council announced that it cut prices on 1057 medicines at its latest meeting on August 25. A list of these medicines is available on the Council’s website.
Compared with current prices, the prices of 46 percent of cost-controlled medicines have been cut by more than half, and more than 24 percent of medicines by over three times.
In general, prices have fallen for 94 percent of all medicines that have regulated costs.
Medicine prices are compared with their minimum prices in at least 10 countries, which means that the process of regulating costs takes time. For this reason, the government has chosen to start with regulating essential pharmaceuticals first.
Moreover, medicines that have a margin of sale of 300-500 percent will be removed from the pharmaceutical market of Azerbaijan.
The country has registered more than 4,500 brands of more than 20,000 types of medicine. The number of cost-controlled pharmaceuticals will increase in the future.
All medicines imported to Azerbaijan are examined before reaching pharmacies and hospitals. The country bans the import of drugs into the country without a license, permission, or other relevant documents.
Currently, the Tariff Council analyzes documents sent to confirm the cost of the medicines in the other 55 active substances. The prices for these substances are expected to be decided by the September end.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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