[WATCH] Prices of 18 medicines reduced, new products introduced

Another 25 generic medications would be made available on the market, to give consumers further options at a cheaper price.

The prices of 18 different medications will be reduced with cuts up to 47%, Joseph Camilleri, permanent secretary at the ministry for consumer affairs, announced today.

Addressing a press conference on occasion of World Consumer Rights, Camilleri also announced the introduction of new medicinal products giving consumers further options at a cheaper price.

The permanent secretary explained that the MCCAA’s budget had already increased for the year to address needs of human resources in the group, and to improve communication between the authority and the medicines authority among others.

Chairman of the Medicines Authority, Profs Anthony Serracino Inglott said that some 18 medicines would see their prices reduced, including medications for hypertension and to reduce blood clots among others.

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Serracino Inglott said that the authority had also managed to obtain some 13 new medications including medicines for diabetes and antipsychotic drugs, to give people better choice and more options to consumers.

“One example is a new dosage of Ibuprofen that is stronger than the ones currently available,” he said.

He added that another 25 generic medications would be made available on the market, to give consumers further options at a cheaper price.

“One of our first moves was made in an effort to improve the public and patients’ situations,” Serracino Inglott said, describing the idea behind medical access and intelligence unit within the authority.

He explained that in Malta there were now some 5,000 different registered medications available on the market with 840 alone introduced in 2015, regardless of how small the country and its commercial interests are.

In a video message, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli explained that the government was securing doing its utmost to reduce prices of medicines as well as to secure accessibility to medications by making sure they are always in stock.

MCCAA chairman Marcel Pizzuto explained that Malta was one of the first countries in the European Union to create an authority specifically for consumer rights in the 1990s which made the country avant-garde compared to other member states.

Pizzuto added that the authority had managed to improve its efficacy, increasing its resolution rate from 35% in 2013 to 48% by the end of 2015, and reducing its pending cases from 245 in 2013 to 85 by the end of 2015.

In her message, Dalli announced that a conference on e-commerce and common complaints made by consumers in the sector, would be held at the Mediterranean conference centre on the 1st April.

She added that Malta had one of the highest rates of online shopping in the EU and that it was therefore paramount to secure better relations between sellers and consumers as well as to ensure that consumer rights were safeguarded.

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