Pharmaceutical industry in Sri Lanka up in arms over price ceiling

The pharmaceutical industry in Sri Lanka is up in arms over the price ceiling imposed on 73 molecules.

The National Medicine Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka (NMRA) had imposed a price ceiling on 73 molecules with the intention of making these medicines more affordable and accessible to patients.

The Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) said that the lack of a proper mechanism for the regulation of prices along with high regulatory fees has only negatively impacted the industry, which is already burdened by fragile market conditions owing to COVID-19 and a depreciating rupee, making importing drugs more expensive.

At present, the Government and regulators depend on ad-hoc price controls on medicine and pharmaceuticals to keep prices in check. This mechanism has proven to be unsustainable in the long run.

“What we need right now is a rational mechanism that is simple & workable. Pharmaceutical Pricing is complex as we are dealing with medicines, patients and the country’s healthcare needs. It is essential to take a collaborative approach between the industry and regulators on the best way forward,” SLCPI Vice President Sanjiva Wijesekera said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that strong pharmaceutical pricing policies in countries can improve pharmaceutical products’ affordability when carefully planned, carried out, and regularly checked and revised according to changing conditions (WHO guideline on country pharmaceutical pricing policies, 2020).

The SLCPI also reiterated their commitment towards ensuring the availability of efficacious, safe and good quality medicines to the general public, in the incoming year.

SLCPI serves as the representative of over 60 members who account for more than 80% of the private pharmaceutical industry, spanning manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers. These stakeholders supply Sri Lankan patients with 800 molecules from 364 manufacturers from across the world. (Colombo Gazette)

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