One of the objectives of the Office of the Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) is to oversee the prices related to medicines, by guaranteeing that medicines are priced in such a way as to be affordable by the public at large.
Earlier this week, during a visit to Pharmadox Healthcare Ltd, Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, announced the reduction in price of 28 medicines, which amounts to 32 per cent. Dr Dalli said that this was the 10th reduction of medicine prices during this legislature. Over the past four years a total of 171 medicine products have been made available to consumers at a lower price.
The affected medicines include dementia pills, which have been reduced by €14.57, 31 per cent of the original price, and the medicine for prostate cancer treatment, Tamsol, has gone down by 32 per cent. Patients who use ‘Arminidex’ for breast cancer treatment will be saving €10, as the price for this medicine went down from €66 to €55.80. This is the second reduction in the price of this medicine after it went down by 65 per cent in November 2014 (from €164.66 to €66).
The list includes dementia pills and medicine for prostate cancer treatment
Other reductions affected medicines that cover a variety of conditions including asthma, tobacco dependency, infections, depression, arthritis, diabetes, glaucoma and hormone problems. Such reductions in prices were possible after an exercise carried out by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority in collaboration with the Medicines Authority, during which the prices of medicines in other EU countries were compared with the prices of medicines on the Maltese market to derive a reference price. In cases where local price exceeds the benchmark, discussions are held with importers to work out to what extent prices can be slashed.
The main objective of this exercise is to protect consumers and ensure that they have the possibility to choose the type of medicines they need at affordable prices.
To view the full list of 28 medicines that have been reduced in price, visit http://www.mccaa.org.mt/en/mccaa-press-releases.
Odette Vella is director, Information, Education and Research Directorate, Office for Consumer Affairs, Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.