Strict pricing formula for medicinal drugs by October:
Govt. to regulate private health sector
A strict pricing formula for medicinal drugs will be imposed by October this
year, drastically reducing the prices of pharmaceutical products, the Sunday
Health and Indigenous Minister Rajitha Senaratne met the National Medicines
Regulatory Authority (NMRA) officials and the Pricing Committee representatives
on Friday to direct them to formulate a pricing formula within two months.
NMRA Chairman Prof. Asitha de Silva, Pricing Committee head Dr. Palitha Abeykoon
and Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Maheepala attended the meeting.
“There will be drastic price reductions after the pricing formular is
introduced,” the Minister told the Sunday Observer adding that the government is
also making plans to regulate the entire private health services sector
including hospitals, health clinics, laboratories and nursing homes in the near
He met representatives of Private Hospitals recently where he had rejected a
request to increase the rates of most of the medical tests performed by these
“Health is not only a business, it is a service. Hence, we have to have a proper
balance of service and profit-making,” he said. The government will intervene to
ensure the patients are not subject to harassment or outrageous fees during
visits to private medical institutions. There will also be regulated prices for
medical tests and surgeries, an area vastly exploited by the private medical
Already the Health Ministry has imposed a ceiling of Rs.2,000 for doctor’s
consultations. The ceiling was raised after the VAT increase. But with the
Supreme Court stay order on VAT, the ceiling on consultation charges have again
been brought down to Rs.2,000, the Minister said.
Once the regulations are in place, doctors will be required to spend a minimum
time of ten minutes with a patient during private consultations. Surgeons will
also be required to dedicate one hour for post-operative care on the patient, he
“Most of the surgeons travel from one hospital to another, for a second
surgery and patients do not get proper post-surgical care as a result,” he said
adding that these issues will be given attention when the regulatory mechanism
is evolved. A complaints receiving body will also be part of the set up.