Ministry of Trade and Industry offices in Port of Spain. (Image courtesy MTI)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is giving assurances that popular pain medications, such as the Panadol brand, should not see price increases, because of recent CARICOM trade decisions.

The Ministry issued a release today giving the assurances, in light of a recent statement by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on the possibility of price hikes on pain meds.

“The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has noted a statement to consumers issued by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) attributing a planned increase on Panadol Pain (Ultra/ Women’s) and Panadol Respiratory Products (Multi symptoms, Allergy, Non-drowsy) to the removal of import duty exemptions by the Ministry,” the MTI statement read.

The release goes on to state that the Ministry moved to ensure affordable prices for pharmaceuticals for consumers by applying to CARICOM’s trade body for the removal of tariffs on hundreds of pharmaceuticals.

Image courtesy GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“In 2020, the MTI sought the approval of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) of the CARICOM for the suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET) for 3300 pharmaceutical items, which included the request for the Panadol Line of items,” the Ministry explained.

It continued: “CARICOM did not grant the exemption for the said products as regional producers, namely Guyana and Jamaica, indicated that it could manufacture and supply similar products.”

“However, the suspension of the CET was approved on over 2,800 pharmaceuticals products and took effect over the period April to September 2020. This has ensured that the price of these items to all consumers has been maintained,” the Ministry added.

The MTI indicates that as a result, the prices on the Panadol line of pain medications should not increase.