Gov't to move towards bulk procurement of medicines to cut costs

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has said bulk procurement of medicines and other health supplies will be started soon in a bid to cut expenses.

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 implemented thus far.

Responding to a question asked by Maafannu Central MP Ibrahim Rasheed on the failure to implement maximum retail price on medicines, Minister Ameer said discussions were underway with the Health Ministry and pharmacies regarding the pricing. Although the price ceiling has not been implemented thus far, bulk procurement works will start very soon, he assured.

"We are noticing that we are getting the same fiscal saving we would get from setting a maximum retail price even through bulk procurement," the minister said.

The minister believes that bulk procurement can be started in December or January, which will reduce the costs of purchasing medicine by about 30 percent.

Noting that the first objective is to move towards bulk procurement, the minister said controlling the cost of medical consumables is included under efforts to reform the national health insurance scheme Aasandha.

Last month, Presidential Spokesperson Miuwan Mohamed said that discussions were underway to control the price of medical drugs.