The Government has imposed a control on retail and wholesale prices of all imported pharmaceutical drugs registered with the Cosmetics, Devices and Drug Authority (CDDA) in Sri Lanka.
Co-operatives and Internal Minister Johnston Fernando, addressing a press briefing in Colombo yesterday (March 12) said the gazette notification has already been issued prescribing all imported pharmaceutical drugs registered with the CDDA as special goods which are essential to the life of the community.
Wholesale and retail prices of 15,000 imported drugs registered with the CDDA available in the local market cannot be increased without permission from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), he said.
Hereafter, the CAA will decide on retail and wholesale prices of the imported pharmaceutical drugs following the price formula. According to the price formula, maximum retail prices will be stipulated on drugs and their prices revised periodically based on a cost study. Prices of all medicines are directly controlled through the formula.
The decision to impose a price control on drugs was made after considering the complaints submitted by the public. Thereafter, a committee was appointed comprising Secretaries to the Health Ministry and Co-operatives and Trade Ministry following discussions with Health Minister Maithirpala Sirisena, he said.
A survey conducted by the Committee revealed that drugs were sold at pharmacies at prices which are arbitrarily decided with immense profits raked in. Most traders enjoyed profits ranging from 150 percent to 800 percent by increasing prices as they wish.
The Minister said the decision to control prices on locally manufactured drugs will be taken following the survey shortly.
It is expected that retail prices of drugs will see a drastic drop after these initiatives are taken, the Minister added.