time to cut prices
By Faraza Farook
The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) has reduced drug prices
by 5% with immediate effect and ordered private pharmacies selling
SPC drugs to also reduce prices- but major drug importing companies
say it may take months to give this benefit to patients.
Chamber President Nimal Dias Jayasinha said that the public could
get the benefit of the price reduction on pharmaceuticals within
the next four to six weeks or when new stocks were brought in.
have already paid the National Security Levy of 6.5% for acquired
stocks, the price reduction can be seen only when the new imports
arrive which will be free of such tax. All member pharmaceutical
companies of the Chamber have been instructed to effect the corresponding
reductions with their new consignments, he said.
said the NSL on pharmaceuticals was charged on a notional profit
of 25% on the cif prices and was effectively charged at 8.1%. Most
drug companies were reluctant to absorb losses by reducing prices
of acquired stocks.
Sri Lanka Pharmaceutical
Industry President Upali Panditharatne, who is also attached to
Mansel Ceylon Ltd. said prices could not be reduced immediately
on the available stocks. "We have 3-4 months stock and we can't
cut down on prices immediately. When we come down to a month's stock
or less, we will consider bringing down the prices along with the
Pharmaceuticals said it had decided to absorb losses running into
millions of rupees due to the price reduction. Its Chairman Gamini
Hewamallika said prices of their commodities have been brought down
by 5% absorbing a loss of around Rs. 1.5 million.
The SPC was
among many state organisation that decided to absorb losses incurred
as a result of the price reduction on already acquired stocks to
reflect zero duty on pharmaceuticals from August 1. Accordingly,
the SPC wrote off Rs. 20 million as losses, Chairperson Sunethra
Ranasinghe said. "Ours is a non-profit making organisation,
so we decided to absorb the losses," she said.
said a six percent reduction was being given on wholesale and five
percent on retail products. She said all SPC outlets and franchise
shops were selling drugs at the reduced rate while private pharmacies
selling SPC drugs have also been instructed to reduce the prices.