Despite its cheaper price, Jordanians shy away from locally-manufactured medication

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Hand holding medicine pills. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Although the price of locally manufactured medication is about 20 percent less than its imported equivalent, some Jordanians shy away from it because they distrust its efficacy.اضافة اعلان

Wael Abu Dayyih, owner of a small pharmacy in the eastern city of Rusaifa, said: “Many customers ask for specific (imported) products that are out of stock, but when we offer a local substitute, they refuse to buy it.”

“Even though these local medicines are cheaper than the imported product”, he told Jordan News, noting that he believed the reason was the “lack of trust in the effectiveness of local medicines”.

Mohammad Ababneh, head of the Jordan Pharmacists Association (JPA), said that local medicines “are priced at 80 percent of the average price of the imported alternatives”.

On the other hand, imported medication is priced according to several considerations. “This includes pricing against a benchmark of prices from 10 regional countries, direct benchmarking against a singular model, ... Saudi Arabia, or benchmarking against the price in foreign currency in the country of origin”, he explained.

“Compared to other countries, Jordan is a small market, which is why the benchmarking is done against countries with larger populations, such as Saudi Arabia”, Ababneh noted.

For producers and importers, the size of the market plays a vital role in the profitability, and the sustainability of a production and marketing operation.

For example, Turkey and Egypt, where pharmaceutical companies have established mass production operations given the high population densities, medicine in significantly cheaper than in Jordan.

Mohammad Qasqas, a pharmacist in Amman, told Jordan News that “the prices of pharmaceutical products abroad are currently declining”.

“This will drive the prices of local pharmaceutical products down, as local medicine must be cheaper than the imported drug,” he said, adding that “imported medication is affected by the currency fluctuations in the producing countries, like any other product”.

According to Qasqas, the prices of many local pharmaceutical products are dropping below those of the rival foreign products.

But, he added, there are cases in which the price of an imported medicine drops below the cost of a locally produced medicine.

Despite several attempts, Jordan News was unable to reach the Jordan Food and Drug Administration for comment.

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