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Friday, February 26, 2021

Drug prices set to drop in Qatar

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Pharmacy / drug / prescription

Qatar residents will start paying less for more than 350 types of drugs sold in pharmacies later this month when new, government-mandated prices come into effect.

This summer, the Supreme Council of Health issued a memo to pharmacies that included a 27-page price schedule with new wholesale and retail rates for various drugs.

Pharmacists say the government already sets the prices for drugs in Qatar, meaning one should pay the same amount to fill a prescription at every dispensary in the country. The new rates are reportedly intended to standardize drug prices across the GCC.

The change is good news for consumers in Qatar, where official statistics pegged the annualized increase in the cost of living at 3.1 percent in July.

However, pharmacies will be forced to sell the drugs already purchased from suppliers at the old, higher rates at a loss. This could translate into a significant financial hit for those businesses with large inventories.

“We’re going to lose a lot of money,” said one Al Sadd pharmacist, standing in front of a row of shelves containing hundreds of drug boxes.
“The owner – he’s probably crying right now.”

What’s changing

The new rates are to come into effect on Sept. 22. Skimming through the new price schedule, some drug prices appear set to decline by a negligible amount while the cost of others will drop by roughly three-quarters.

Some examples of the new prices include:

  • Aspirin (30 tablets, 100 mg): QR3.75, down from QR6.50;
  • Crestor, used for lowering cholesterol (28 tablets, 10 mg): QR104.25, down from QR129;
  • Zyloric, used to prevent gout and kidney ailments (28 tablets, 300 mg): QR18.75, down from QR87;
  • Baby and infant Panadol (100 mL bottle): QR6.25, down from QR13.75
  • Tenormin, used to address high blood pressure (28 tablets, 50 mg): QR30.50, down from QR60;
  • Tenoretic, used to address high blood pressure (28 tablets, 25 mg and 100 mg): QR52.75, down from QR67.

The new rules also include set wholesale prices for suppliers. For example, the box of Tenoretic will be sold to pharmacies for QR43.29, while Crestor will be provided at a cost of QR85.47.

A small sample of rates shared with Doha News showed that pharmacies will keep between roughly 18 and 19 dirhams for every riyal in pharmaceutical sales under the new rates.

Several pharmacists said their profit margins would remain roughly unchanged, although the Peninsula reported they would increase from the current 10 percent.

Consumers, however, will see significant savings – something one pharmacist said could result in some people taking better care of their health.

“This will be very good for customers, especially those with chronic conditions. Prices can be very high in Qatar compared to places like Saudi Arabia.

“It will also be good for people who don’t have insurance,” said Mahmoud Gad, an employee at Al Safa Pharmacy.

He added that lower-income workers who may have not been able to afford medication in the past will now be more inclined to speak to a pharmacist and treat their ailments.

While Gad said Al Safa Pharmacy will likely clear out most of its older, higher-priced supplies before the new rates come into effect later this month, other businesses are not so lucky.

An employee at another Al Sadd pharmacy, who declined to give her name, said her business still had significant supplies.

“We have a lot of stock. These are (drugs) we bought from suppliers at the old price. We stand to lose a lot of money,” she said.

She added that she hopes the Supreme Council of Health will push back the implementation date to give businesses such as hers more time to clear their stock.

Gad said the upcoming changes will affect the prices of some 350 to 400 types and dosages of drugs. He said another round of price revisions is expected in roughly three months time.

Thoughts?

34 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

That is great news. I wish we had the same level of generosity and care about the public in my home country 🙁

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

Let’s hear it from all the Qatar haters then, on with it, low and standardised drug prices must be worse than the system in other countries and therefor, be a reason to remove the world cup hosting rights, where are the usual arm chair historians and pundits?

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Yikes buddy. I know the day is almost over, but I hope you can find one thing to make you smile today.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

How sad you must be, taking such an attitude on positive news. How do you react to news that shows Qatar in a negative light?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

Sad is the state of banter and commentary on here that results in a single opinion, the comment pre-empts the initially veiled replies that focus solely on the “commentators” view that, although living here, Qatar is indeed criminal in all activities and endeavours. I’d apologise that the sarcasm was lost on you

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

As I mentioned to another commenter that had a similar negative view: if you don’t like the way DN or the comments read there are a lot of news agencies out there. I don’t particularly like the slant of Fox News and their comments section is atrocious to me. Therefore I avoid it. Is not worth your time if it just makes you angry.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Not interested in taking your anger bait, nor in passively moving on, one view or agenda by the loudest doesn’t make it right, correct or unchallengeable, if you can’t handle a broad range of view points, commentary, cynicism, sarcasm, subtlety, brashness, positivity, negativity, insight, short sight, or anything in between, then perhaps a more narrow comment read is more appropriate.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Pot meet kettle.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

irony meet lost

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Qatar, like any other country, has both disgusting and exploitive behaviour and systems, and other aspects that are to be applauded and emulated. This is the normal for both countries and individuals.

The article is about Qatar adopting pretty bog standard policies in the medical field that will benefit residents there. It is hard to criticize such a move, though no doubt there are some ultra-free marketeers out there who can find fault with it. That is the way it is. You ire is hard to understand.

Below you seem to espouse the promotion of a broad range of viewpoints, yet at the same time you demonstrate intolerance when those viewpoints are expressed. That does seem a bit inconsistent.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

My ire may be hard to understand as it’s been projected onto a comment by another commenter, not necessarily a part of the comment, perhaps a reflection of the lens that individual views the world and differing viewpoints, as anger, or ire. Again, your lens places a subjective term “bother” onto another’s comments, and you espouse engagement, while producing a paragraph without engagement.

For example, “this website is bothering you, why don’t you do this” would be less engagement, and more projective and condescending as if to say, some comments are valid, and we (the colonists of DN comment boards) support valid comments, but some are not, so no need spending time here. I have no reason to clarify the irony or sarcasm to others on the thread, as they’re not personal attacks, and clearly not going to be ‘gotten’ by everyone; more a counter commentary to the mainstream range of what is valid and invalid here. I beat the anti-qatar haters to the punchline and clearly that has drawn the ire and bothered people on here who must try to find rhyme and reason to justify why someone would be motivated to do so.

What Qatar is doing in many respects and in this case is commendable, and something many of us benefit from by being here, which often goes unnoticed.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

I’m not sure there was a punchline to beat anyone to with this story. I think most people on DN are up for healthy discussion and/or dissention. Apologies if I didn’t “get” your joke, but I don’t think I was the only one that wasn’t understanding what appears to be the intended humor. To use your term, I think your lens projected onto others that a majority would understand your sarcasm. The fact that none of this face to face, and adding in the degree of difficulty of different cultures makes sarcasm pretty difficult to pull off.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Who is “us”, where is “here”? What is a “hater”? Will you define your terms so that I may understand your perceptions?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

fewer syllables?

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Greater clarity of termiology – I see myself as quite comfortable with multi-syllabic speech.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

I can’t be responsible for the clarity of my terminology in all situations, biases and filters. Friendly advice, your terminology comes off as lecturing people what to do; ie. from a pedestal, no offense intended, just clarifying and helping engage further

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

None taken, as some have said, I can’t be responsible for how my speech is interpreted in all situations, biases and filters. How my writing style comes off to you is more a reflection of you than me, wouldn’t you say?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

define some, I and “style” when you’re done being “witty” and not “engaging” in dialogue, which were your previous demands

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

fewer syllables? 😉 We can play this game all evening long if you wish. You will note that at nowhere did I issue you a demand, it started with a request – “Will you”, which is not a demand. A basic of conversation and discussion is defining terms so that people are on the same page, that has not yet happened.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

nice edit, game is a one syllable word, but it’s still difficult to spell at the best of times

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Yes, typos are a hazard of this type of communication, aren’t they?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

Guaranteed to take place with impeccable timing

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Yep, as predictable as spinach in the teeth during a job interview.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

Or tabouleh

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Ugh, tabouleh, definitely on my foods to be avoided list, and I would say probably more hazardous than spinach in the dental hygiene department.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

So all this time this Pharmacies have been charging the public inflated prices and now they are afraid of being exposed. How could they charge poor workers and others such high prices and get away with it all this time

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

I don’t think that was the case, and this is not what the article said. It might be that the government renegotiated some contracts with the big pharmaceutical firms, or made new deals with makers of generic medicine. It is also possible that the government has decided to subsidize the price of some medicines. In all cases, it seems like pharmacies will keep the same margins as mentioned in the article, so the burden will be on the suppliers/importers and the government.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

Until 2011 drug prices were controlled by the supreme council for health, but after citizens and residents complained that prices in Qatar were higher than other GCC states the decision was made to deregulate prices. The hope was that increased competition would drive down prices.

But when the new law was introduced in April 2011 prices of many drugs increased by about 30% almost immediately. This new law is an attempt to remedy that situation

http://www.pharmatimes.com/Article/11-05-31/Qatar_drug_prices_soar_after_law_change.aspx

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

Great step for Qatar. Isn’t this part of the equalization of drug prices over the GCC btw?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

It seems the pharmacies have been making a killing over the last few years. One drug I bought in Qatar cost 150 QR but in Europe it cost me 3.50 Euro for exactly the same thing. I can have little sympathy for them as not even import costs can justify the huge disparity and the way they have been ripping everyone off in Qatar.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Ive found the medicine here very cheap compared to Australia!

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

I agree, when we moved I was quite shocked. Now baby Panadol is about $2. Makes me wonder if the gov here is really generous or in Australia we just get ripped off 🙂

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago

Some good news at last, any action that makes health care more affordable/accessible to the masses is a good step! I just wish they would take a similar step with housing, as with the market being controlled by a few players its getting crazy!

Smile
Smile
6 years ago

Reading many comments day in day out on Dohanews shows Qatar is completely base on nationality and generalization of people Qataris included. I notice unfortunately, majority not all Western expats generalize Qataris when they comment, majority of Qataris not all generalize everybody, Filipinos not all generalize Indians/Pakistani/Nepalis etc, Majority don’t even want to see the black Africans. its goes on and on from one nationality to another. some people even respect or not to respect base on your religion. Here, people judge directly without any form of direct conversation with the person based on nationality, car and many times colour. Until people are judge base on their personality and behavior things will not change for the better. This is my personal experience since June 2011 in Doha. In conclusion, generally in spite of all these which is not peculiar to Qatar, is not a bad place to live.

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