Fears over fake drugs in Bahrain allayed
Manama, January 7, 2013
Medicines being sold in registered private sector pharmacies were procured only through authorised dealers, said a top official amid claims that up to 30 per cent of drugs sold in Bahrain could be counterfeit.
"These authorised distributors are dealers for the original manufacturers and get their medicines directly from internationally recognised multinational or regional manufacturers who are comprehensively and stringently regulated," the Pharmacies Owners and Importers Society Bahrain president Dr Fadhel Al Arrayed was quoted as saying in a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
Earlier, National Health Regulatory Authority chief executive Dr Baha Eldin Fathea said fake products bearing the names of well-known manufacturers were being sold in the market after being channelled through European or Arab countries.
He said the figures were based on global averages and demanded tough legislation to deal with the problem.
"We challenge anybody to find any counterfeit medicine in the pharmacies registered and regulated by the Ministry of Health,” said Dr Al Arrayed.
"We assure the public that the medicines being sold in registered private sector pharmacies in Bahrain are original medicines and equivalent/identical to medicines sold in any European or Western country."
The society also denied reports that medicines in Bahrain were overpriced.
"While prices of medicines vary from one Gulf country to another, prices in Bahrain in general are lower than in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and to a large extent are on par with prices in the UAE," said Dr Al Arrayed.
He explained that due to the sheer size of the Saudi Arabian market, manufactures offered lower cost, insurance and freight prices to the Saudi regulatory authorities.
"This is an issue totally out of the control of medicines importers and distributors in Bahrain and other Gulf countries," he said.
"It is inaccurate and slanderous to suggest directly or indirectly that Bahrain pharmacy owners and medicine importers are in any way responsible for the medicine price discrepancy with Saudi Arabia."
Dr Al Arrayed stated medicines in Bahrain were priced by the Health Ministry and all pharmacies strictly follow the pricing structure, which allows a small profit margin. "We have expressed to the authorities that any reduction of this margin would lead to the financial failure and bankruptcy of many pharmacies, especially the small ones," he said.
"We support the reduction of prices of medicines, however, this can only be done through concerted pressure by GCC governments on original manufacturers to reduce and unify costs to distributors across the GCC.
"In addition, GCC governments should do more to educate the public and medical profession on the use of generic rather than branded medicines which are equally effective at a fraction of price." – TradeArabia News Service