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    02-Oct-2022

Drug companies, hospitals face financial stress as gov’t debts pile up

 

Jordan News

 

 The pharmaceutical industry can be boosted by measures that simplify and facilitate the official process of registering new medicines, they said, also highlighting the need to improve the sector’s productivity and heighten the competitiveness of locally manufactured medicines by reducing costs.

They highlighted the importance of rehabilitating and developing a specialized workforce, adopting a marketing and promotional policy for local pharmaceutical companies, opening new export markets, and setting pricing standards to ensure price stability.

The sector must also focus on attracting new investments and supporting existing ones, honing research and development processes, enhancing innovation, and reviewing educational curricula with an eye to market requirements, the specialists said.

Secretary-General of the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Hanan Sboul said that the sector faces many challenges, most notably the growing debts owed to pharmaceutical companies by the government, which have risen to over JD100 million.

Without this money, companies lack the liquidity needed to carry out their work, which threatens the continuity of production, export operations, and employment, Sboul noted.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals Group President of the Middle East and North Africa region Mazen Darwazeh said that the Jordanian market provides a “solid base” for its pharmaceutical industries, but its relatively small size leads local companies to focus on exports, which constitute about 80 percent of the total pharmaceutical production.

Jordanian pharmaceutical companies support Jordanians indirectly, through government tenders, he said, indicating that the majority of citizens, some 85 percent, have health insurance, and purchase medicines at nominal prices that near their production value.

Darwazeh pointed out that the share of Jordanian companies in the drug market has fallen to 30 percent, from 60 percent, due to the introduction of international brands that are able to compete in the local free market.

Jordanian brands should focus on maintaining their competitive advantage in export markets, he said, adding that Jordan provides a benchmark for medicine pricing.

Darwazeh encouraged the sector to channel efforts toward increasing exports and opening new marketing channels, instead of calling in external consultants to conduct research and export studies, which is costly.

He also stressed that stakeholders should study the processes that directly affect prices to avoid a decrease in exports.

Meanwhile, MP Farid Haddad has said that the government owes three public hospitals about half a billion dinars and that these hospitals are close to financial collapse.

Haddad told Jo24 that the three are King Abdullah University Hospital, the University of Jordan Hospital, and the King Hussein Cancer Center, adding that they all suffer from financial difficulties because the government has not transferred money owed them for treating publicly insured patients, and for those who are exempted from paying for their treatment.

Haddad claimed that government’s failure to honor its debts to these hospitals has created a major crisis between them and companies that supply them with drugs and medical supplies.

He pointed out that the fate of these institutions is at stake in light of the failure to find solutions to settle government’s debts despite the fact that such funds have been allocated in the state’s general budget.

 

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