THE country's price regulating body reviewed prices of 75 essential pharmaceutical products with prices becoming effective from Tuesday.
Fiji Commerce Commission has laid out under the Commerce (Price Control) (Percentage Control of Prices for Food Items) Order 2012, the determined and fixed maximum retail prices and maximum wholesale prices for the 75 products.
Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy said improving health was critical to human welfare and essential for sustained economic and social development.
"Modern pharmaceutical products and vaccines have revolutionised health care, but budget constraints and poor infrastructure have prevented hundreds of millions in developing countries like Fiji from accessing even basic essential drugs.
"Consumers having to pay a high price at the point of delivery are discouraged from using services (particularly health promotions and prevention); thus postponing health checks.
"This means they do not receive treatment at an early stage or at a stage when the prospects for cure are better."
He said catastrophic health spending was not necessarily caused by high-cost medical procedures or one single expensive event.
For many households, Dr Reddy said relatively small payments could also result in a financial catastrophe.
Not only do out-of-pocket payments deter people from using health services and cause financial stress, he said they also caused inefficiency and inequity in the way resources were used.
Dr Reddy said the commission would closely monitor the market to ensure that the items were always made available in the market and that the prices of the non-controlled items were not unjustifiably inflated.
"The pharmacists and other staff members working at the retail end must ensure that consumer are always advised about the availability of the price controlled items to enable them to make an informed decision."