Medical drugs price plunge

PATIENTS are set to enjoy low prices of drugs and medical kits after the Medical Stores Department (MSD) has started purchasing the products directly from manufacturers.

The move by the governments medical supplier has seen it procuring the products on reduced costs by an average of 47.5 per cent as compared to buying them from business people.

After taking over the office, President John Magufuli directed the Minister for health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, to ensure that MSD stops buying drugs from businessmen who have been inflating prices, thus making unaffordable to many poor Tanzanians.

Minister Mwalimu told a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the department has heeded the Presidents directive from this month. She explained that the MSD now purchases drugs and other medical equipment directly from manufacturers at reduced prices by between 15 and 80 per cent after stopping using middlemen.

I now direct the councils and hospitals to reduce prices of drugs because they will also be buying them at low prices from the MSD, she said. The Minister said prices for essential drugs have significantly reduced, citing the hepatitis B vaccine which has dropped to 5,300/- from 22,000/-.

Likewise, Diclofenac now is bought for only 800/- from 2/000/- per each 10 bottles when sold by middlemen. For medical kits, bed sheets, for instance, the manufacturers sell it at 11,100/- while middlemen were selling at a price of 22,000/- each.

Now bed sheets are available at cheap prices. I dont expect to see hospital beds without sheets, Ms Mwalimu said. Under this endeavour, the MSD has entered into an agreement with 73 manufacturers of drugs and medical kits, 10 of them are local producers while the rest are foreign companies from 20 countries.

She noted that purchasing the drugs from local manufacturers makes MSD get the drugs within a short period and supply them quickly in 14 days while those ordered from outside the country may take up to six months to reach the country and distributing them.

Kenya, Uganda, US, India, South Africa and China are some of the countries from which the drugs will be imported from. She said manufacturers will be supplying Tanzania with 178 types of drugs and 195 medical kits.

Highlighting on the status of the drugs availability, Ms Mwalimu said the increased budget of drugs from only 31bn/- in 2015/16 to 251bn /- in the 2016/17 financial year has led to improved supply of medicines.nufacturers

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