Parl. Secretary Deo Debattista announces price reductions on 23 medicines & 5 medical devices
Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista announced price reductions on 23 medicines and 5 medical devices. These include antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, oral contraceptives, and antifungals. The price of the penicillin antibiotic co-amoxiclav has been reduced by 25%, meaning patients can save up to €5. Other price reductions include 22% on antidepressants, 18% on oral contraceptive pills, and 5% on antifungals. The Malta Medicines Authority is also in discussions to regulate medical devices. In fact, for the first-time price reductions on medical devices namely contact lenses have been announced.
Simultaneously, 15 generic medicines have been introduced on the local market with a reduction in the price of up to 60%. Patients can save up to €60 per 56 tablets on the generic medicine, pregabalin which is indicated in neuropathic pain when compared to the originator. The same applies to zolmitriptan, a medicine indicated for a migraine where patients can save up to a maximum of 60%. All medicines are registered with the Malta Medicines Authority to ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy in line with the European legislation.
Parliamentary Secretary Debattista pointed out that accessibility was also improved by the introduction of 10 new drugs of pharmacotherapeutic importance. Among these is the antibiotic phenoxymethypenicillin that causes less resistance when compared to other antibiotics.
Access to medicines is fundamental for public health and economic growth. The Government recognises the importance of improving the accessibility of medicines while ensuring the quality, safety, and efficacy of medicinal products on the market.
The price reduction in medicines is made possible through a synergy between the Medicines Intelligence and Access Unit within the Malta Medicines Authority, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, and the local and international pharmaceutical distributors. These entities work together to safeguard patient-centred care.
The Medicines Intelligence and Access Unit proactively looks into how consumers can have more accessible medicines at fair prices. This unit also receives requests to intervene and guide the patient individually on access to medicines. Continuous dialogue with the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority and stakeholders ensures reasonable prices of medicines. The Medicines Authority also collaborates with the government entities and the Superintendent of Public Health to ensure that medicines do not fall out of stock.
Accessibility of medicines is an ongoing challenge that requires collective effort and cooperation between all stakeholders. The Malta Medicines Authority is committed to address the challenges of Brexit and ensure continuity and sustainable access to medicines. The Authority offers a fellowship program to encourage professionals to enrol for Masters and Doctorate studies in the pharmaceutical sector to strengthen the expertise in this sector.
Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018 Deo Debattista concluded that lower prices of medicines enhance patient compliance with the recommended treatment.