There is no provision to increase the prices of life saving drugs as per the will of companies or traders
Golam Mostafa Jibon: Thousands of patients and their relatives in the country suffer from continuous rising of essential drugs by the powerful syndicate of medicine traders due to lack of proper monitoring of the Directorate General of Drug Administration.
Medicine companies in collaboration with the syndicate leaders increase the prices as per their will without following rules and regulations putting the patients and their relatives in extreme trouble.
There is no provision to increase the prices of life saving drugs as per the will of companies or traders. But, realizing additional prices felling the buyers in traps has now become a regular phenomenon for the mysterious role of the drug administration.
Meanwhile, the prices of some essential drugs for Diabetes, Cancer, Heart disease and Hepatitis have gone up abnormally like other consumer goods. Companies and traders are realizing several times higher prices than the scheduled prices in a competitive manner, though the drug markets are not permitted for competition like other consumer products’ markets.
Experts said, drug producers and traders are taking illegal advantages as country’s people are forced to spend their two-third of the money for drugs purchasing and treatment purpose each year. This is why; the government should increase their vigilance on this regard.
According to the sources, over 2,500 species of life saving drugs are produced and reprocessed by the drug companies in the country. Of them, the prices of only 117 drugs have been set up by the government, while rests are being sold as per the will of companies and traders.
Public Health Specialist and former President of BMA Prof. Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub said, “Drug administration cannot avert the matter saying they have nothing to do. They have enough power to prevent the practices as per the drug policy. Besides, the drug producers and traders cannot increase the prices of drugs as per their will without proper logics.”
“Preserving illegal interest of the influential quarters is not duty of the drug administration officers,” he also added.
Jakir Hossain Rony, former Director of Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Association said, “A powerful syndicate of the companies and traders works behind the exorbitant price hike of essential drugs. They are doing so taking the advantage of sudden shutting down a foreign medicine company. Locally produced medicines are fulfilling the demand of foreign medicines in which the buyers are being forced to pay high rates against those.
During a recent visit to different medicine markets including Mitford of the city, this correspondent came to know that, the price of insulin among other essential drugs has recently increased highly. Besides, the prices of some other drugs for Diabetes, Cancer, Heart and Hepatitis have gone beyond the purchasing capacity of the buyers.
Insulin is now being sold at Tk 3,000 instead of legal price at Tk 1,000, while the prices of different tablets for diabetes have increased between Tk 10 and Tk 20 per packet. The drug of Hepatitis (B+C) combining is being sold at Tk 3,000 against the real price at Tk 1,000, while the prices of cancer related medicines have increased by Tk 5,000 on the basis of varieties. The prices of medicines produced by Unani and Ayurvedic companies have also been increased in a same pace.
Sorman Ali, a medicine trader of Mitford area told The Daily Industry that, retail sellers are able to increase the prices of different life saving tablets as the single packet of medicines doesn’t contain the retail price on it. The prices are mentioned on the medicine boxes contained with five or 10 medicine packets. Taking the advantage, the retailers realize additional money in different tricks.
Seeking anonymity, an officer of Drug Administration said, “Basically, the prices of essential drugs increase while the prices of drug producing raw materials increase. But, the raw materials’ markets are still stabled. So, there is no option to show any excuse for increasing drug prices.”
“The prices may be increased, if the prices increase in international markets. But, there is no such as sign in the country,” he added.
Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries Secretary General SM Shafiuzzaman said, “Drug companies are not responsible for current price hiking. The traders might have been increased the prices for want of proper monitoring by the concerned Drug Administration.”