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Health - February 11, 2024

Medicine prices to increase 8 times

After LDC graduation

Tasnim Karim : After graduation to LDC, Bangladesh will lose the existing facilities of several of our medicines. In this, the cost of developing new drugs including insulin will increase up to 8 times.
The market strategy experts think that Bangladeshi drug manufacturers have already increased the medicine prices to almost 200 percent, it would be increased up to 1000 percent after the LDC graduation, they added.
Prime Minister’s Economic Adviser Dr. Mashiur Rahman, ERD’s former senior secretary Sharifa Khan, economist M Abu Yusuf, Mustafa Abid Khan and CPD Honorary Fellow Dr. Mustafizur Rahman expressed the same opinion in a conference recently.
Dr. Mustafizur Rahman said, incentives have been reduced in several products, this is our LCD transition preparation. But now we have to think about what to do after LDC graduation in 2026. The country will be deprived of many benefits after LDC graduation.
After graduation, additional fees have to be paid for availing meritocracy benefits in many medicine fields. It will increase the price of different types of medicine. Especially in the case of buying and using the patent of insulin, the price will increase at least 8 times. If it is not prepared in advance, some problems will be faced suddenly. The LDC Doha Summit had important indications at the highest levels of government. These political decisions are directly related to the market system. Therefore, there is no scope to consider the market system separately.
He said, notification is made in the case of graduation from least developed countries (LDC graduation) to developing countries. In that case, hilsa fishing is called marine fish extraction. But hilsa is usually caught in the fresh water of the river. Later, while making the notification mentioning this, the change in the case of LDC should be mentioned. The decision must be reconsidered. Then the subsidy benefits for hilsa extraction can be prolonged.
After LDC graduation, a major deal is needed in the field of agriculture, he said, especially in green financing, 10 percent can’t be calculated to continue to provide subsidies. Because this facility should have been introduced long ago. In this case (Moratorium) should not listen to neighboring or any other country in canceling special privileges.
He further said that it will not be mandatory to keep the special tariff facilities that WTO (World Trade Organisation) has said to be in operation after we become a developing country from a less developed country. In this case, even if the tariff (duty) of any product increases from zero to 200, there will be no legal basis to prevent it. The cost will increase manifold. Which then it will be difficult to survive with competing countries. The facilities after LDC cannot be relied upon. Because earlier it was said that there will be benefit for 12 years, now it is said that it will be 3 years.
Dr. Moshiur Rahman said, there is a wide discussion about LDC graduation mainly on technology, agriculture, fish extraction and transfer and business tariff benefits. Their present and future realities are not the same. At one time, 10 to 12 hilsa could be found in one, then fishing was very easy and the cost was also low.
But that leash is getting expensive now. Fish come to the river to spawn, these fish are caught with traditional gear, nets and boats. In these cases, incentives for advanced fishing can be maintained. But it is not possible if LDC is LDC graduation. Many complex and difficult terms are used at the international level. In that case there is no option to increase the value.
He also said that graduation from less developed countries to developing countries is a new idea. Basically, it is a three-dimensional combination. I will not step back on the LDC issue, I want to move forward. But you have to adapt anew. Preparations should have started earlier, some time has been lost. Extension of time for LDC graduation will not be considered for now. Because if we leave the LDC, the price of our country will increase at the international level. If the duty and other benefits are reduced in the case of export, the validation should be increased.
Sharifa Khan said, the opportunities that WTO has will continue till 2029. But it will not be in the case of medicine. Besides, the existing 66 percent advantage in the ready-made garment sector may not be available. He said, notification of duty, subsidy situation for LDC graduation is required but we are far behind in this. Even if it is desired, it is difficult to implement. But notification increases capacity.

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