By Larbi Arbaoui
By Larbi Arbaoui
Morocco World News
Taroudant, June 28, 2012
Moroccans with limited income, who do not have healthcare coverage, are the first social strata mostly affected by the high prices of drugs.
According to the daily newspaper Al Massae, A recent study revealed that about 20 per cent of Moroccan patients, with low incomes who suffer from chronic disease, are forced to sell their property in order to purchase medicines.
In a statement, the Moroccan Network for Defending the Right to Health emphasized that Moroccan families, particularly those which bear the expenses of a patient with chronic disease, became dirt-poor because of expensive drugs and the high cost of treatment.
The report confirmed that the prices of drugs is very high in Morocco, despite several efforts and further incentives made by the State, which consisted mainly in reducing the tax on the added value (TAV) of a number of drugs, particularly the tax on the import and customs duties, which moved from 25 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Yet the drug companies kept the drug prices very high in the national market.
The report adds that the prices imposed by these companies in Morocco and imported materials are in stark contradiction with international standards.
In November 2009, a parliamentary committee issued a report, which shows that the prices of medicines in Morocco are higher than in many rich countries, such as France and New Zealand.
The group of deputies to investigate the price of the medicine supervised by Khalid al-Hariri, MP USFP, stated that drug prices (a basket of 14 brand-name medicines) are higher by 31-189% than Tunisia. For the 12 best selling products in Morocco, the patients paid, between 2004 and 2008, 1.13 billion MAD more than their Tunisian neighbors.
In the 14 selected brand-name medicines, the prices of 11 products are 30% higher in Morocco than in France, one of the European countries where drugs are the most expensive! With regard to generics, Morocco also remains more expensive than Tunisia and New Zealand and half the price compared to the French market.
A comparison with Tunisia shows that of the 13 cheapest generic retained in the study, 10 are more expensive in Morocco. The difference between both North African countries ranges from 6 to 135%.
Ali Lutfi, President of the Moroccan Network, confirmed to the daily newspaper “Al Massae” that the prices of medicines in Morocco represent a significant burden on the health sector.
The 2009 parliamentary committee highlighted in its report that the reasons behind the high cost of drugs are to be found in the business practices of a large part of the pharmaceutical industry that seeks to maximize its profits. The report also pointed to the flawed and obsolete regulations applied by the Ministry of Health for price fixing, which are exploited by the pharmaceutical industry.
The report of the Moroccan Network called on human rights associations, civil society organizations and associations of the protection of patients to put pressure on those in charge to speed up legislation regulating the domain of medicines and medical supplies in order to protect patients and ensure their right to access medicine, diagnosis and the quality of treatment.
The Ministry of Health of the previous government had put a road map to reduce the prices of medicines aiming at reduce the prices of genuine medicines by 14 per cent and generic drugs by 26 percent. Yet, it seems that the pressure of manufacturers is more powerful than the intentions of the government.