Auditor recommends pharmaceuticals holding company face prosecution

The Central Auditing Organization recommended Wednesday that officials from the Holding Company for Pharmaceuticals be referred to the Public Funds Prosecution for selling certain drugs for less than what they cost.

Mohsen Abdel Alim, head of the Health Ministry pharmaceuticals department, had said public sector pharmaceutical companies lost LE119 million last year from producing 542 different drugs at a loss, and that they did not halt production because of their responsibility toward the community.

The Health Ministry has agreed to increase the price of 38 drugs, including 30 drugs that are produced by the holding company, in order to support it. The increases range between LE0.25 and LE1.50, which still renders those drugs cheaper than other similar ones.

Abdel Alim also said prices of medicines in Egypt are the lowest in the world, and that the ministry has for social reasons rejected a request from the Chamber of Medicine Industries to increase the prices of 1,000 drugs.

The price increases will be small — up to LE1.50 per package — and the medications affected will remain cheaper than other alternatives on the market, Abdel Alim said.

Adel Abdel Halim, head of the Holding Company for Pharmaceuticals, said public sector companies are facing conspiracies to expel them from the market.

In a related development, Mahmoud Fattouh of the Association of Government Pharmacists filed a complaint with the health minister Wednesday for increasing the price of Betadine, an antiseptic, from LE10.5 to LE11.75.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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