Discussions underway on controlling drug prices

Discussions are underway on controlling the price of medical drugs, Presidential Spokesperson Miuwan Mohamed said.

At a press conference at the President's Office on Thursday, Miuwan said the government believes that the price of medicines is closely linked to the welfare of the people. He said there are discussions to be held with the pharmaceutical traders and importers and that extensive dialogue was ongoing.

"The maximum price of medicines is very much related to the people. The government is trying to make a decision on the matter as soon as possible," he said.

The Health Ministry's November 2021 regulations on capping medicine prices were amended in March this year, and essential medicines are being sold at controlled prices. As per the regulation, the prices of all non-essential basic medicines will be controlled from July this year. However, the step has not been taken thus far.

The authorities have repeatedly said the cost of the health insurance scheme, Aasandha, is increasing due to the high price of medicines. While the government allocated MVR 730 million for the Aasandha scheme in this year's budget, the budget has already been exhausted. According to the Finance Ministry, MVR 795 million was spent on Aasandha as of June. MVR 658 million was spent on the scheme during the same period last year.