Drug Admin seems tongue-tied
Patients suffering from serious diseases are in a quandary as medicines are becoming costlier in the country as government authorities have no control over the pricing of many lifesaving drugs, according to firsthand findings. People of middle-and lower-income groups are the worst victims of such price spirals as they have to pay huge amounts of money for buying medicines.
Talking to medicine retailers and consumers in the capital and elsewhere this correspondent found that the prices of most of the medicines used for treatment of various serious diseases, including cardiac problems, gastric, diabetics, blood pressure and pain, have increased sharply over the last six months.
The retailers said that the medicine market is not stable at this moment and that customers are getting confused while buying medicines as they fail to understand the reasons behind the abnormal price rises.
Mofizur Rahman, a medicine retailer at Jagannathpur at Badda in the capital, said, “When customers want 10 Antacid Plus tablets at Tk 15 and I tell them that the price has shot up to Tk 20 about one month ago, then I have to bargain with them.”
According to retailers, Gliclid (ACME) Tablet for Diabetics, per piece, was selling at Tk 5 about six weeks ago and now at Tk 7.
For gastric, Capsul Prevas (General) per piece was available at Tk 4 one month back and now it is Tk 5. Two months ago, Neotack (Square) per piece was selling at Tk 2 and now it costs Tk 2.50 .
The price of Orsaline (SMC) was Tk 5 per pack six weeks ago, and it is now selling at Tk 6.
Blood-pressure medicines, such as Amdocal-5mg Tablet (Beximco), used to cost Tk 4 per piece a few months ago. Now it sells at Tk 5 apiece.
Price of painkiller Reservix (100mg) (Incepta) was Tk 3 around three months back but it is now selling at Tk 4.
The price of cardiac medicine Angilock (Square) was Tk 6 per tablet nearly three months ago, but it soared now to Tk 8 while Osartil (50 mg/ Incepta) tablet price has increased from Tk 6 now to Tk 8 each .
Price of cough syrup such as Ambrox (Square) was Tk 30 roughly two months ago but nowadays it is selling at Tk 40. Adovas of the same company was sold at Tk 40 one month ago and now its price is Tk50 .Basok syrup of ACME also costs taka ten more now as the price rose from Tk 40 to Tk 50.
Mahbubar Rahman, a government employee staying outside the capital, said, “I have been suffering from diabetes for long, but the prices of medicine have increased manifold in recent times.“
The medicine which was available at Tk 50 a few weeks ago is now selling at Tk70. Finding no alternative, people are being compelled to buy medicines at higher prices, he added.
Ruhul Amin, assistant director of Drug Administration (DA), said, “The government has listed 117 medicines as essential drugs for primary healthcare and we control the prices of those, but the prices of other medicines are determined by the pharmaceutical companies.”
Major-General Abul Kalam Azad, Director-General of the DA, said the prices of enlisted 117 medicines have not increased, but prices of some other medicines have been raised.
He also indicated lack of policy restrictions on the medicine market as the cause of price rises.
“A new drug policy is going to be introduced very soon so that the drug administration could work for the interest of the common people,” said the military man at the helm of the vital sector.
When contacted, Abdul Muktadir, secretary of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI), said that prices of all medicines have not increased and that prices of only two percent medicines were raised.
“The pharmaceutical companies are under tremendous pressure due to increase in price of raw materials and cost of utilities like electricity and diesel and labour,”said Muktadir.
Vice-president of Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Association Md. Abdul Hai told newsman that the prices of medicines have increased four to five times in the last one year.
“So, it is urgent to save the common people from the curse of price hike of medicines.”
Courtesy of Daily Sun