Consumer Council’s article “Know your med prices”

CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.

The Consumer Council wishes to clarify certain aspects of the article ‘Know your med prices’ published in the Fiji Times (page 6) newspaper on 4th June 2013. The following is highlighted for clarification.

1.0     The article was generated from an interview with Consumer Council’s chief executive officer by Fiji Times reporter Avinesh Gopal conducted on 30th May 2013.

2.0     The interview and the ensuing article were intended to educate consumers about the fact that certain essential medicines are under price control. The Council’s intention was to inform consumers that 75 pharmaceutical items are under price control (PC) regulated by the Fiji Commerce Commission (FCC). The Council also highlighted the fact that the list of medicines under PC should be displayed by pharmacies for consumers to sight.

3.0     The interview also focused on generic and branded (originator) medicines where the differences between the two was discussed. The Council also highlighted that consumers had a choice whether to purchase branded or generic medicines.

4.0     The Council also provided consumer advice on other important matters that consumers should be mindful of when purchasing medicines such as: checking expiry dates; getting properly itemized receipts and the need to seek more information from their pharmacist.

5.0     The Council never discussed the actual prices as provided in a table contained          in that article and erroneously referenced as “SOURCE: CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI. In fact the Council does not regulate prices, nor generate prices lists. The price table provided in that article does not belong to the Consumer Council. The Council is fully aware that regulated prices will differ between suppliers and pharmacists and that there is no one fixed price for a medicine category or pharmaceutical item.

The focus of the Council’s interview is those matters outlined in 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 above.

It is unfortunate that an outdated and wrong price list which was not the focus of the Council’s interview appeared in the newspaper article and was also wrongly referenced.

The Council wishes to apologize for any inconvenience the article may have caused to consumers, pharmacists, the Fiji Commerce Commission and the general public.

We maintain that the information and issues that were discussed with the Fiji Times reporter during the interview on Friday were accurate and purely intended to educate consumers.

Premila Kumar

Chief Executive Officer

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