Mérida, January 24th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Indepabis, the Institute for the Defence of People in the Access to Goods and Services, has published a list online of over 1,000 new regulated prices for medicinal products.
The move falls under the Law for Fair Costs and Prices, which came into effect last November. The law enables the government to put price caps on goods and services across broad sectors of the economy, not just at point of sale, but across the production line.
In December the government began the first phase of implementing the law, which involved inter-institutional auditing of companies’ internal pricing structures of personal hygiene, food, and household products. The second phase began this month, and involved revising the pricing structures for a range of medical products. Now that the prices are available, companies have one month to begin printing the prices on the products.
The prices table, available on the Indepabis website and which includes 1,144 medicinal products, lists each product’s factory price, price paid by the wholesaler, and then a maximum selling price.
For example, A twenty-tablet pack of painkiller acetaminophen, of the Acetalis brand, has a factory price of 2.63 bolivars (Bs.) per pack, a wholesale price of Bs 3.03 and a maximum selling price of Bs 4.04 (US$ 0.95). The contraceptive pill Minigynon, 21 tablets, has a factory price of Bs 3.38, a wholesale price of Bs 3.9, and a shelf price limit of Bs 5.2 (US$ 1.20).
Some prices are much cheaper than current pharmacy prices, while others are almost the same, and many brands or variations of products are not listed. The National Superintendency of Fair Costs and Prices set prices according to the characteristics of the goods and companies’ financial records.
People in Venezuela can also acquire many of these medicines for free after a consultation in a Barrio Adentro clinic. Indepabis stated that the regulated prices aim to guarantee that the “population pays a fair price and to avoid speculation.”
Also available on the website are the regulated prices for some basic food items, as well as for construction materials. Indepabis maintains a free call number where consumers can denounce any irregularities.
The Law for Fair Costs and Prices aims to stabilise prices, guarantee access to goods, and to lower inflation. Legislator Ramon Lobo said the national executive decided to implement the law because of “certain practices, such as monopolies, where in the process of buying and selling products and services… certain economic groups dictate the standard prices in the market”.
Under the law companies can be punished for charging more than the designated prices, including a prohibition to sell the product, or inspectors can stamp or confiscate products.