JAKARTA – The Indonesian Competition Committee (lit. Komisi Pengawas Persaingan Usaha/KPPU) has offered three options to the government regarding the limited supply of essential medications for COVID-19 treatment. These options comprise the reformulation of the highest retail price (HET), applying subsidised highest retail price in medication distribution, and essential medication distribution via state-owned pharmacies.

In the press release quoted on Monday (2/8), Ukay Karyadi, Commissioner of KPPU, claims that there are still scarcities in essential drugs and their prices exceeding the highest retail price regulated by the government. “It could be seen in southern Sumatera, Java, and Bali. Meanwhile, a shortage of medication occurs in Kalimantan and Sulawesi,” Karyadi specifies.

According to Karyadi, KPPU comes up with these options after the Micro-Community Activities Restriction Enforcement (PPKM) in early July 2021, driving the medicine supply to scarcity and its prices to swell. Several pharmacy owners complain about the decreased margin profit following the highest retail price regulation. This margin would not cover the operational cost and risk suffered by the sellers.

Karyadi further mentions that the scarcity in medicine also results from the raw materials export restriction from manufacturing countries. Currently, domestic drug production uses 90% of imported raw materials. “The order to report drug distribution daily also causes the pharmacy to stop selling essential medications,” he continues. (LK/ZH)