Consumers heading to a pharmacy in Qatar today should be in for a pleasant surprise at the cash register.
The cost of some 350 drugs was set to drop this morning following a government-mandated price cut that brings Qatar in line with other Gulf state’s medicine prices.
This summer, the Supreme Council of Health issued a 27-page memo to local pharmacies that listed new retail and wholesale prices for various drugs, and set a Sept. 22 implementation date.
Some pharmacies had been hoping that the government would give them more time to clear out their old inventory of drugs that were purchased at the old, higher cost and would now have to be sold at a loss.
However, several pharmacies contacted by Doha News said they had started selling their drugs at the lower prices today.
The actual changes in prices vary from drug to drug. While the cost of some drugs will drop by a negligible amount, the price of others will fall by up to 75 percent.
Some of the changes 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.
In Qatar, the government has already been responsible for setting drug prices, meaning consumers would pay the same price for medicine at any dispensary across the country.
However, some patients and pharmacists said shoppers often paid much more for common drugs than in other Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia.
The reduction is part of a GCC-wide initiative to unify pharmaceutical costs for consumers. Today’s price cut is the first phase, covering roughly 350 products.
One pharmacist told Doha News earlier this month that he expects additional rounds of prices cuts roughly every three months.
The Peninsula reports that some 2,500 pharmaceutical products will be covered once the initiative is fully implemented.
The price roll-back is positive news for consumers in Qatar, where the inflation rate has been ticking upwards in recent months. It reached 3.8 percent in August and was recently forecast by Qatar National Bank to climb to 4 percent in 2015-16.
The climbing cost of living is primarily driven by rising residential rates, which increased some 7.9 percent year-over-year in August, according to QNB.
The rise in the cost of medical care and health services was much moderate, nudging up 0.7 percent.