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Prices of 209 drugs slashed

Some meds to be up to 60% cheaper • PAM publishes domestic transfer decision

KUWAIT: Minister of Health Ahmad Al-Awadhi issued a decision on Tuesday slashing the prices of 209 major drugs at private pharmacies by up to 60 percent following a review by a special committee. The decision will become effective three months after the publication of the decision in the official gazette Kuwait Al-Youm, giving the private health sector enough time to implement the price cuts, the health ministry said in a statement.

The drugs whose prices will be reduced include medicines for hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol, antibiotics and blood thinners, in addition to a number of vital drugs, the ministry said. It was repeatedly claimed that the prices of drugs in the private sector in Kuwait were far higher than those in the neighboring Gulf states. The ministry has in the past several years reduced the prices of drugs a number of times.

The ministry said the decision was based on a report by the drugs pricing committee, which conducted a comprehensive review of the prices of medicines in Kuwait. The decision also took note of creating a balance between supporting the national pharmaceutical industry and providing essential drugs at a reasonable price to patients.

Meanwhile, the Public Authority of Manpower on Tuesday published a ministerial decision allowing domestic helpers to transfer to the private sector. The decision permits holders of article 20 residency to transfer to the private sector (article 18) provided they fulfill a set of conditions. Workers must obtain the prior approval of their employers after completing one year of service with them. They also must pay a transfer fee of KD 50, along with fees of KD 10 per year of the residency.

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