A recent study by BIDS reveals the reasons why medicine prices are high in our domestic market. The study shows that drug manufacturers have to spend a big amount of money to convince the doctors to prescribe their drugs. According to the study, the pharmaceutical companies even send entire families of doctors abroad to spend holidays or attend seminars. So, clearly, when the manufacturers fix the prices of their medicines, their spending on doctors is considered as the cost of production. The result: high prices of medicines in the domestic market.
It may sound strange but the prices of drugs of the same generic group of different companies vary in Bangladesh and when a doctor prescribes a drug of a particular company, the patients are left with no other option but to buy that drug no matter how high the price is. Thus, it is the patients who are the ultimate victims of this unholy nexus between the doctors and the drug manufacturers.
According to the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), 10 large pharmaceutical companies control over 70 percent of the local drug market. So, there are chances that these big companies can manipulate the drug prices in the market. In order to stop any such manipulations, the government must have a monitoring mechanism in place to see if the prices of drugs are fixed following the required rules. Also, doctors should be mandated to prescribe medicines by their generic and not brand names.