NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis says that government won’t accept wholesalers/retailers “breaking the law” by blatantly refusing to stick to the expanded Price Control regime.
Halkitis said that the federal government was not being “heavy-handed” or “unreasonable” and warned that pharmaceutical and food wholesalers/retailers could face penalties for failing to follow the law. Members of the Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association closed their businesses yesterday resulting from the federal government’s failure to acknowledge their recommendations in response to its decision to cut back their profit margin on price-controlled drugs.
The Retail Grocers Association also stated that they weren’t changing their prices until they received a conclusive response from the federal government to their proposal.
Halkitis said: “The changes got here into effect on October 17 and we now have been in some discussions. We received a letter from the Pharmacy Association on Thursday past, having met with them the previous week. We were in the midst of analyzing the contents of the letter and preparing our response once we had this shut down all of sudden.
“We expect the pharmacies to follow the law. We understand that there’s some concern over the completion of the implementation of the amendments. We’re prepared for many who are in the midst of implementation and might need just a few days to make sure they’ve accomplished implementing the amendments.”
Halkitis noted that while the federal government is ready to work with businesses in those circumstances it just isn’t willing to simply accept total disregard of the law.
He added: “We are usually not heavy-handed in any respect. What we said is we might delay enforcement until November 1. We might have been fully inside our rights to start enforcement on October 17.”
Halkitis said that the federal government doesn’t accept that consultation or negotiation would forego enforcement of the law, adding that the worth control regime expansion can be on a brief basis; three months within the case of pharmacies and 6 months within the case of food retailers.
“We understand that inflation affects everyone including the consumers we are attempting to assist,” he said.
“There are some points of interest we would like to debate further but that doesn’t preclude the implementation of the amendments. We expect the amendments to be implemented.
He added: “If a few of them take the position that they are going to disregard the law then there are consequences under the law. There will likely be enforcement.”
The Pharmaceutical Association, just like the Retail Grocers Association, has contended that the new price control regulations specific to the pharmacy sector are untenable and unsustainable. The association has as an alternative really helpful that the federal government eliminate value-added tax (VAT) and duty on medicines.