The Minister of Trade and Industry (MTI) has today instructed the Consumer Affairs Division to develop a mechanism for the monitoring and publishing of the quarterly prices of essential pharmaceutical items in relevant business establishments throughout Trinidad and Tobago, which will assist with empowering consumers to make the best purchasing decisions.
This follows public concerns related to the merger involving firms within the local pharmaceutical industry – Smith Robertson, a wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical and personal care products, which recently acquired 100 per cent of pharmaceutical and medical supplies distributor Oscar Francois, and Intersol Limited.
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the publication of pharmaceutical prices, which is similarly done with basic grocery items, will help consumers to make the best purchasing decisions for their pockets.
The T&T Fair Trading Commission (TTFTC) gave the commitment that it will engage in monitoring to protect the interests of consumers, while the Minister assured that efforts are being made to keep pharmaceutical costs affordable.
The Minister also noted reckless and erroneous social media commentary linking the recent merger in the pharmaceutical industry to the intended supply and availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the Trinidad and Tobago population.
However, she said “Members of the Public are advised that such vaccines are only being sourced by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through bilateral channels and the COVAX Facility as previously disclosed by the Minister of Health. All vaccines procured by the Government will be consigned directly to the Ministry of Health.
The MTI said it remains committed in advancing policies which balance the interests of consumers and supports the development of local industry while observing regional trade obligations.