Kazakh Healthcare Ministry to set price ceilings for medicine

ASTANA – The Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare will set price ceilings on the sale of medicine across all regions in the country, said Pharmacy Committee Head Lyudmila Byurabekova during a recent online Primeminister.kz conference.

Lyudmila Byurabekova. Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

When the law “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts on the Circulation of Medicinal Products and Medical Devices” enters into force, the ministry will determine limits on wholesale and retail prices of medicine. Changes in the pricing of medicine will occur at the producer, wholesale and retail levels, as well as for free medical care and compulsory social health insurance.

Byurabekova emphasised that price regulation will not affect the quality of medicine. Upon registration in Kazakhstan, companies must present documents confirming their products’ safety and quality.

“Price and quality are two criteria that are always taken into account. An expert organisation, the National Centre on Medicinal Product Evaluation is responsible for product quality… If the drug is registered in Kazakhstan, then it has confirmed its safety and quality,” she said.

The aim of state price regulation is to ensure uniform pricing mechanisms for medicine in the wholesale and retail sector, regardless of the region. In this way, pharmaceutical market players will take on greater responsibility, and medicine will be much more affordable to the wider population. The law will also regulate seasonal price fluctuations, as prices will be set twice a year in January and July.

To accompany the new law, the National Centre on Medicinal Product Evaluation developed a mobile application that provides users with information on a given medicinal product, such as its price and whether it passed a safety and quality assessment. Users may also provide feedback on price hikes.

“If a person sees that the price is higher than indicated on the mobile application, he or she will be able to take a photo and send an immediate appeal that the price is too high at the given pharmacy. In addition, all prices will be posted on the online resources of the Ministry of Healthcare, the Pharmacy Committee and the Drug Evaluation Centre,” explained Byurabekova.