Government must assure the people of Trinidad and Tobago that the current monopoly in the pharmaceutical industry would not lead to predatory price increases.
That’s according to Mayaro MP, Rushton Paray.
In a release this morning, Paray said “The assurance is even more critical at this time when thousands of working poor have lost their jobs and fixed income householders, pensioners and single parents are extremely vulnerable.’
He said “The Government must secure this guarantee from Agostini Group Limited following its acquisition of Oscar Francois Limited. The public must be assured that they would not be victims of unfair and arbitrary pricing.
The administration has a crucial responsibility to protect consumers in light of this unprecedented development and the repeated warnings of the Pharmacy Board over impending price hikes.”
Paray said “The Government must also address reports by the Board of items in short supply among members but being available at Superpharm Limited, which is associated with the pharmaceutical distributor.
“In addition, the Fair Trading Commission must publicly explain its approval of this acquisition. Since product monopolies are also being established in other sectors, the Commission must detail its process for granting authorisation. The Commission must further reveal whether it consults civil and consumer organisations before formulating its decisions,” he said.
According to Paray, “Consumer watchdog groups must commit to monitoring retail pharmaceutical prices, along with product shortages and other developments that could artificially move the market. But most of all, the Government has to provide leadership on a matter that pertains directly to the health and welfare of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”