Vaccines sold at exorbitant prices

PHARMACIES selling meningococcal vaccines at a much higher price is a serious issue.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said the party was made aware of a case where a pharmacy in the Central Division purchased the vaccines for $150 each from a pharmacy in the Western Division and was selling each vial of vaccine for $325 after the Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of the disease in the country.

Prof Prasad described the act by pharmacies selling the vaccines at a higher price as “criminal”.

“This is not the first time a pharmacy in the country has exorbitantly overcharged people and taken advantage of the fact that many medications like meningococcal vaccine are not under price control,” Prof Prasad said.

He said most prices range between $150 and $220 and not $325.

“How can a pharmacy purchase the vaccine locally for $150 and then sell it for $325 at a mark-up of well over 100 per cent,” he said.

Prof Prasad said the investigations carried out by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) is not enough.

Meanwhile, the FCCC on Tuesday issued a statement saying it had met with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to discuss the issue of price variance of the vaccines.

The statement further said it had also consulted the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service for assistance in verifying the prices of the vaccines.

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