Members of the health committee of the People's Assembly accused the Egyptian government of driving up the price of medication by changing tariffs
A representative from Egypt's Health Ministry rejected the charge during yesterday's session of parliament
Committee chairman Hamdy el-Sayyid reported that the new decision aroused skepticism among committee members because it has not been sufficiently discussed beforehand. El-Sayyid called on the ministry to reconsider the wording of the plan, which he described as lacking political sophistication.
El-Sayyid said that although the minister of heath has spent a long period in his post, he has adopted a technocratic attitude when it comes to making a decision on a vital public issue like medicine prices.
El-Sayyid added that the change in tariffs will create a discrepancy between local prices, and could create the impression that the market might produce lower quality drugs to cut costs.
MP Hamdy Ismail said that the decision will drive up prices and pave the way for an invasion of the local market by imported medicine. Meanwhile,
MP Mustafa el-Katatny denounced the argument that the changes in tariffs would make medicine prices in Egypt equal to those in Europe. Egyptians cannot afford European prices, el-Katatny said.
Ashraf Hassan Bayoumy, the Ministry of Health's advisor for pharmaceutical affairs, claimed that the decision will not increase prices, assuring that any drug that includes an effective substance already on the market will be kept same price.