Georgia: Zurab Azarashvili calls out against rise in prices of drugs in Pharma markets

Tbilsii: The Georgian Minister of IDP’S, Labor, Health and Social Protection, Zurab Azarashvili spoke against the rise in prices of drugs that was recorded in the pharmaceutical market. “It’s a classic example of cartel bargaining to see drug prices across the market rise for a couple of days and after our response, they drop again,” the Georgian Health Minister said.

Zurab Azarashvili spoke about the social responsibility of the pharmaceutical sector not to limit citizens access to vital medicines.

“Apart from the law, there are different elements – social responsibility, ethical marketing. Honestly, we were expecting this kind of deal from the business side. An unfortunate fact was stated, but there was an immediate reaction from our side too. “As you can see, prices have risen sharply over the past few days, and then they have also dropped sharply,” the head of the health care department said.

Zurab Azarashvili noted that in order to avoid such events, the Ministry is working on further stricter regulations.

“I would like to thank the competition agency who intervened immediately after receiving our notice, will investigate the matter and draw a legal conclusion.” However, to eradicate such facts, we have already started working in parallel. 

Last week, when such a fact was reported, we immediately began to make changes to the government’s establishment. This was discussed and approved by the Prime Minister on Monday. 

It was a change regarding special, state-owned medicines – some oncology medicines could be included, as well as those we significantly reduced by allowing parallel imports from Turkey a year ago. The Interdepartmental Council has a full delegation on these medicines”, – said the Minister of Health.

All our decisions will be aimed at being competitive in the market and enabling small pharmaceutical companies to operate successfully in both the import, distribution and pharmacies,” the Minister for IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Welfare said.

According to Zurab Azarashvili, unfortunately, there is no competition in the retail pharmacy market today and big holdings can outplay small pharmacies.

“Under agreements like last week’s drug price increases, or tougher agreements, such as sabotage, holdings can’t import or if another relatively small firm imports, pharmacies won’t be allowed to sell the drug.” Also, they can deny small pharmacies on their own terms. 

With the events of the last week, we are convinced that there is no competition in the retail pharmacy market – a simple agreement can place a price on any drug that is completely unrealistic and the consumer is forced to pay. Therefore, we have already started the changes and we think that by the end of the next year, all changes related to the transparency of the pharmaceutical market will be fully realized”, – said Zurab Azarashvili

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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