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GCC eyes single medicine pricing

People check a list of medicine prices outside a drugstore in CaracasGulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are poised to adopt a single medicine-pricing policy within the bloc as of 2014, Bahraini Minister of Health Sadiq Abdulkarim Al-Shihabi told local media.

He said the application of a unified pricing system and common procurement policy for drugs will contribute to lowering the price of medicine in GCC states.

The single pricing policy will be initially applied in government-owned facilities, which will be directly reflected on private pharmacies, he was quoted as saying.

He said an executive committee from the GCC Council of Health Ministers is following developments on the proposed single medicine-pricing policy.

The Bahraini minister admitted that there is disparity in medicine prices in the GCC states, as GCC countries differ in size. Saudi Arabia, for example, is a vast country that attracts many visitors for Haj and Umrah. This, in turn, affects the prices of medicine, he said.
GCC countries import 75 percent of their medicine supplies from other countries. States endeavored to set up medicine factories in cooperation with global medicine manufacturing firms with expertise and technical knowledge, said the minister.
He reaffirmed that many investors were willing to invest in this domain in GCC countries.-Arab News