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Commission To Probe Varying Price Of Medication

Commission To Probe Varying Price Of Medication
Amy Street Pharmacy staff member Sanjilini Kumar with Meningococcal vaccine (Menactra) available and on sale at the pharmacy. Photo: Ronald Kumar
April 05
14:48 2018

Vaccines currently sold by the pharmacies are Menactra; price ranges from $190 to $365.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) are carrying out investigations concerning the alleged high mark-up prices for the meningococcal vaccines being sold by private pharmacies.

The vaccines currently sold by the pharmacies are Menactra, and the price ranges from $190 to $365.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the commission had learned that some pharmacies were charging exorbitant prices for the vaccines following the outbreak of the meningococcal disease.

A team from the commission is now on the ground collating data and analysing the pharmacies allegedly involved.

It anticipates a preliminary outcome in the next two or three working days. It is expected that the preliminary outcomes would provide enough information to determine the actual landing costs of the vaccines.

Pharmacist Rahul Swamy of Amy Street Pharmacy in Suva said they had searched for the Sanofi Pasteur brand vaccination, which was suitable and affordable.

He said they ensured that they bought the vaccines from the supplier, followed the right procedure to get the vaccines in Fiji and give the best price.

“The first batch of vaccines was sold last week which showed peoples interest,” he said.

“We have sold around 220 vaccines in the first batch from which we also had distributed to the branches in Nadi. 156 vaccines were pre-ordered and we are getting 120 more vaccines by the end of the week.”

While speaking on the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation GoldFM Talkback Show – Speak Your Mind, the Ministry of Health’s acting national adviser for communicable diseases, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan, said the early treatment of suspected cases of Meningococcal was life-saving.

“The earlier medications or vaccines can be given the more chances a person has of surviving,” she said.

“We are advising the prevention of the disease and also the early recognition of the symptoms.

“Vaccination is one of the multiple strategies to control the disease. The Ministry has embarked on working to have all the strategies in place.”

As per menactra’s website, Menactra vaccine is indicated for active immunisation to prevent invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135. Menactra vaccine is approved for use in individuals from 9 months to 55 years of age. However, the Menactra vaccine does not prevent N meningitidis serogroup B disease.

The meningococcal disease bacteria are not easily transmitted but are spread from person to person via transfer of saliva or spit. This can happen when a person with the bacteria coughs on an uninfected person, or deeply kisses an uninfected person on the mouth.

It may also be spread through sharing of drinks from the same glass/cup, water bottle or bowl eg kava or taki alcohol at a nightclub.

Babies and children under the age of 5 frequently put things into their mouths, therefore they are also at risk of getting the bacteria.

Edited by Naisa Koroi




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