Launch of workshops on the rationalization of prices and tariffs of health products and services in DRC

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Kinshasa, December 9th, 2021 (CPA) – The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of Interior, Decentralization and Customary Affairs, Daniel Aselo, on Tuesday launched a series of workshops on the rationalization of prices and tariffs of health products and services in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), CPA learned on Wednesday from the Ministry in charge of National Economy.

Deputy Prime Aselo, who represented the President of the Republic, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, recalled the Head of State’s commitment to universal health coverage.

« We have made health products and services, sources of state revenue, just like ordinary products, without considering the social impact of such a policy », said the Deputy Prime Minister.

He said that through this workshop, participants will study ways and means to materialize the vision of the President of the Republic, Felix Tshisekedi on universal health coverage. Health experts and the various actors intervening in this sector will, at the end of the work, formulate clear recommendations for the achievement of this objective, before arguing that the will of the Head of State Felix Antoine Tshisekedi is to reduce the costs of health products and services and facilitate access to quality health care, which remains a constitutional right of every citizen.

« As part of the Universal Health Coverage program, the ambition of the Head of State is to put the patient at the center of the health system and the Congolese citizen at the center of the government’s concerns », he said. by soliciting the involvement of the Minister in charge of National Economy and the entire government for the success of this process, which benefits from the support of partners including SANRU, USAID, WHO.

According to Mr. Aselo, the Congolese government is keen to make quality health care accessible to all segments of the population, adding that the reflections of these workshops are part of the continued fight for « fair prices » products and services, which the government has assigned itself.

The objective of the rationalization process

The Minister in charge of National Economy, Jean Marie Kalumba Yuma, noted in this context that the rationalization process will make it possible to determine the fair prices of the products and services concerned. It will also make the prices and tariffs both competitive and accessible to a greater number of patients, so that the turnover of those who provide them grows in line with greater, even exponential, demand”, said Minister in charge of National Economy.

The boss of the Economy, for this purpose, deplored the fact that certain imported pharmaceutical products see their prices increased to nearly 150% of the CIF value, because of different taxes, while these same products are low taxed in the other countries of the region, in this case 15% in Rwanda and 65% in Congo Brazzaville, compared to CIF value.

« Even if the local industry is not yet capable of absorbing all the domestic demand for drugs, it is urgent to grant it the necessary support for its proper development, so that DRC is able to produce its own drugs, in accordance with the highest quality standards ”, continued Minister Kalumba Yuma.

Disparity in drug costs is a barrier

For his part, the Minister in charge of Health, Hygiene and Prevention, Doctor Jean-Jacques Mbungani underlined that the disparity in the costs of drugs and the provision of health services constitutes a great barrier to the accessibility of the population to health care in quality.

The government, he said, also expects from these workshops reflections on ways and means capable of materializing the vision of the Head of State, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo who wants the « fair prices » of products and services for improve access to health care and allow the most disadvantaged to seek treatment according to their purchasing power.

With regard to medicines imported into DRC, the Minister in charge of Health noted that the cost is largely influenced by import taxes, stressing that these levies reduce the purchasing power of the populations, but also promote the drug smuggling and counterfeiting as well as speculation.

ACP /