Pharmaceutical manufacturers have welcomed health minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement of a 3.78% private-sector medicine price increase for 2019. Medicine prices in the private sector are tightly controlled by the health department, which usually permits one increase a year on the ceiling price for each drug. While pharmaceutical manufacturers can freely determine the launch price of their products, from that point on they may not increase their private-sector prices beyond an annual threshold set by the minister, known as the single exit price. “The single exit price has been quite a controversial issue. This is welcome because it brings us closer to inflation and is likely to be implemented in January,” said pharmaceutical task group spokesperson Stavros Nicolaou. “It is more closely aligned to trading conditions and its more timeous implementation will assist the difficult environment and also reduce administrative burden in the sector, per President Cyril Ramphosa’s call to...

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