Muscat: The Ministry of Health has postponed its decision to reduce the profit margin for drugs in the private sector in Oman, according to a circular issued by the ministry.
In November 2015, the ministry said that prices of a large number of drugs will be reduced from January 2016 but later postponed it to June 2016.
However, the latest circular issued to all private pharmacies and stores on May 2016 states that the decision to revise the price has been postponed again.
“The implementation of the revised prices will be postponed until the new bylaws and Ministerial Decisions enforcing the new pharmacy law promulgated vide Royal Degree No. 35/2015 will be issued,” the circular says.
Speaking about the reasons for the delay, a pharmacy official said, “Drug distributors had pleaded to the Ministry of Health to study the details of the impact of this price revision.
“If they implement the price reduction decision, the pharmaceutical industry may be hit,” the official told Times of Oman.
The ministerial decision also stipulated a reduction in the profit margin of drugs in the private sector so that the profit margin remains between 35 and 43 per cent, instead of 55 per cent.
Drugs prices in Oman are considered as one of the highest in the GCC region.
While announcing the decision to revise the price of drugs, ministry officials had said the move was a continuation of an earlier phased approach, such as reducing the export prices of drugs being sent to the Sultanate by unifying the prices of innovative drugs in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to the same level and re-pricing generic drugs at the local level.
The ministry’s decision to reduce prices of medicines was not the first of its kind in the Omani market in the recent past. It was the third time and it also covers the largest number of drugs.
Such a decision was first taken in October 2014 when prices of 1,400 drugs were reduced. The second time in June 2015, prices of around 1,180 drugs were reduced.