Cheaper prices for meds against narcotic addiction, high blood pressure, acne

The list of cheaper prices includes medicine used for psychotic conditions, acne, pain relief, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, epilepsy, asthma and narcotic addiction

The price of 29 medicinal products has been reduced, including medicine used by diabetes sufferers.

The list includes medicine used for psychotic conditions (Zyprexa 5mg), acne (Decutan tablets), pain relief (Aspirin C effervescent tablets and paracetamol 500mg), osteoporosis, high blood pressure (Valsartan Teva 160mg tablets), high cholesterol levels (Atorvastatin Teva), epilepsy, asthma and narcotic addiction.

In a press conference addressed by Consumer Affairs Minister Helena Dalli and Medicines Authority chairperson Anthony Serracino Inglott, it was announced that the reduction in price will affect both generic and branded products.

"This is the result of dialogue and a good relationship we have with stakeholders. There is a desire for patients to come first and for this reason, we have been carrying out this exercise to reduce prices whenever we can," the minister said, adding that it was very important for the government for there not to be out-of-stock medicines, but also for patients to have access to affordable medicines,” Dalli added.

This was echoed by Serracino Inglott who said that the function of the authority was to ensure the safety and efficacy of medicines, which were also affordable to consumers.

"Three years ago too many patients were having to go abroad to buy their medicine. We decided, together with all stakeholders, that this was neither good for the country nor for the patients, and set about trying to fix this," he said.

One factor contributing to high prices, Serracino Inglott said, was the fact that the Maltese market is small, preventing the country from being able to buy medicines at lower prices.

"This is a problem for all the small countries and we are in talks with other authorities to find ways of working together," he said.

Serracino Inglott also hailed the authorities recent performance in an audit carried out by the FDA - the American drugs authority.

"We were one of the first countries to allow inspections by the FDA. We were audited recently and the results were ultra-positive. I have been approached by a number of heads of authorities from other countries, asking for advice on how to prepare for the audit," he said.

Also present was MCCAA chairperson Helga Pizzutto, who said that the MCCAA constantly monitors the prices of medicines, both locally and abroad, in order to determine which medication could potentially have its price reduced.

"We then speak to importers to see what can be done to lower the price, or in some cases, prevent the price from increasing," Pizzutto said.

She added that the ultimate aim of the authority is that of giving the public more options and guiding people in making the best possible decision for themselves.

More in Health