A lot of noise is being made about oil prices, but no one is talking about the high price of drugs.
I was in India recently for a two-week holiday. I had forgotten to take my daily medication. I purchased some medicines from a pharmacy in Chennai and noted that the same medicines sell at a very high price in Sri Lanka. In Chennai, the retail price for a bottle of Metaspray is Rs. 171.75 (Indian rupees), while the same medicine sells here for Rs. 686 (Sri Lanka rupees).
On a simple currency conversion, factoring in all costs, the medicine should cost Rs. 430 (171.75 x 2.50), even with CIF, customs duty, taxes etc. The importer makes a profit of more than Rs. 200.
Another inhaler, Tiova, costs Rs. 290 (Indian rupees), while the price in Sri Lanka is more than Rs. 1,100.
These medicines are for lifetime use for patients like me. We pay a huge amount to fill the importers’ pockets. We do not know the importers’ profit margin on expensive medicines.
Drug importers and distributors in this country make a huge profit, and a part of this profit is distributed among medical professionals by way of sponsorship and overseas trips (your newspaper has run a series of articles in this connection).
We are giving publicity to high petrol and gas prices, but ignoring the prices of drugs. Will the Consumer Protection Authority or the concerned company please explain?
S. A. Jothy, Colombo