The Jordan Times
AMMAN — The recent hike in fees for testing medicines and medical supplies will lead to increased costs for users and could possibly reduce the profit margin of suppliers, stakeholders said on Thursday.
In a recently endorsed by-law, the Cabinet increased testing fees for medicines and medical supplies, dependending on the costs of the items being tested.
Jihad Maani, head of the medical supplies association, elaborated on the hike, explaining that testing fees will increase from JD100 to JD125 for substances with cost exceeding JD5,000, while it will go up from JD25 to JD50 for substances with a cost lower than JD5,000.
While the hike may seem insignificant, he said imports of medicines and medical supplies in small numbers comprise a considerable proportion of purchases, such as dental supplies, with drugstores sometimes importing only 6 to 10 units.
However, the hike will not have a significant impact on large purchases valued at thousands of dinars, he noted.
The sales tax on medical supplies was also increased from 4 per cent to 16 per cent this February, in addition to increases in customs tax on spare parts.
Maani said drugstores are not likely to compromise their profit margin, so the increase will be fully reflected in an increase of costs for users.
But Ahmad Issa, former president of the Jordan Pharmacists Association, said increasing the testing fees will increase prices of medications and medical supplies, and will negatively affect the already "limited" profit margin.
He explained that the allocated administrative expenditures for pharmacies (6 per cent) and drugstores (4 per cent) did not undergo any increases over the past 20-30 years.
Meanwhile, he noted that, for registering a single type of pharmaceutical, a drugstore has to pay the Health Ministry JD2,000.
Tayseer Ahmad, an employee at a drugstore, said that some medications and items are officially priced by the Jordan Food and Drug Administration, adding that it is still unclear if the administration will increase prices or not.
If not, then the profit margin of suppliers will drop.
But other medical supplies and cosmetics that do not undergo a price control will definitely witness a price hike as suppliers would want to cover the additional testing costs.