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Drug market unbridled

Strict monitoring to curb price hike suggested

Published : 03 Sep 2020 09:39 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:07 PM
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There has been no let-up in the price hike of drugs in high demand for recovery from Coronavirus symptoms across the country.

Most of the drug stores are charging more than the maximum retail price blaming a shortfall in production, allege consumers.

A Bogra resident Alimur Rahman talking to Bangladesh Post over phone said, “From the onset of the virus, drug stores in Bogra increased the rates of regular antiviral drugs. Even, a taka 12 paracetamol drop (for children) now costs 20-25 taka.”

From different drug outlets, it is found that an unholy syndicate has been formed to keep the prices high. The price of saline has also been increased, he added.

Another consumer, Forhad Alam from Dhaka echoed a similar view saying that prices of common drugs for fever, cough, and pain-relief have also risen this week.

He said, “I sought for some injectable medicines and Doxycycline group tablets, but could not find them. Certain stores said they could sell, and I paid them Tk 40-50 more for a piece of Midazolam (injection).”

The shopkeepers said that due to the corona, pharma companies were not supplying these drugs on time as production suffered in the last few months, he added.

Replying to a query, the director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) Ayub Hossain said, “There is no chance to charge more than the MRP. Again, the prices of medicines have been fixed by the government under special instructions.”

“Taking advantage of the situation, some people may ask for more than the fixed price. We will definitely take action if these come to our notice. Our mobile teams are working to bring back discipline in price,” the official mentioned.

Professor A. B. M. Faroque of the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Dhaka (DU) told Bangladesh Post, “In the pricing case, companies have to set a price structure that is to be adjusted by ensuring the price of raw materials, import cost and reasonable profit. The unscrupulous drug stores are overcharging common patients, as the demand has jumped amid the corona.”

Stringent monitoring is needed to resolve the hike in price. Rigorous scrutiny at the consumer level may help, he added.