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Tk 173 Ventolin drug sells at Tk 400 despite price-hike

By bdnews24.com
12th-Jan-2017       
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A respiratory solution of the British drug-maker GSK is being sold at more than twice the price in Bangladesh market.
The drug regulators, the Directorate General of Drug Administration, and the company, however, said they have not increased the price.
Mahbuba Haque went to buy the Ventolin respiratory solution from Tamanna Pharmacy in the Bashundhara Residential Area on Monday morning.
"I used to buy it for Tk 172, but they asked for Tk 400 on Monday morning," she told bdnews24.com. "Later, I bought a similar solution made in Bangladesh."
Shuvo Ahmed, who introduced himself as a salesman of the pharmacy, told bdnews24.com over phone that "the price can go up even further with the demand growing".
"We have to buy it more than the price written in the box from the wholesale market," he claimed.
Ventolin Respirator Solution, which is for inhalation only, is used for the management of chronic spasm in lungs and in the treatment of acute severe asthma, which is common in winter.
"GSK can confirm that the company's price of Ventolin Respiratory Solution is Tk 173.42 and has been so, for almost a decade," Rumana Ahmed, GSK Head of Communications, told bdnews24.com in an email reply.
"GSK does not have the authority to control the price of medicines, if any pharmacy is altering the approved price," she added.
Director General for Drug Administration Major General Md Mustafizur Rahman says this is "illegal". "No…no-one can increase price except drug administration," he said.
"Yes, we have monitoring teams," he said, replying to a question. "We'll look into that."
Bangladesh has over 250,000 pharmacies that sell drugs.
"But many of them do not have even licence," said Professor ABM Faroque of Dhaka University's Department of Pharmacy , who was one of the members of the parliamentary team that inspected drug companies across Bangladesh, told bdnews24.com.
"The government should increase its supervision and strictly control the pharmacies."
"Drug shops have grown in Bangladesh like groceries," he remarked.
"We have to regulate them, ensure pharmacists sell drugs and ensure exemplary punishment for violating any rules," he said.
He said mostly wholesalers in Mitford create artificial crisis of some drugs and increase the price. "This is mostly an unregulated market," he said.
"Both the government and the companies do not enough manpower to monitor them," he said.

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