LASCO Providing Affordable Meds to Jamaicans
As One of the largest distributors of pharmaceuticals, packaged foods and other consumer items in Jamaica, LASCO's drive to make drugs affordable to everyone is part of the company's mandate.
LASCO sells its antiretrovirals for the treatment of HIV/AIDS much lower than the prices sold by multinationals, making it possible for more infected persons to be treated.
LASCO's Amlodipine, for the treatment of hypertension, costs one-eighth the price of the multi-nationals'. Approximately 38 per cent of the population suffers from hypertension and many of them cannot afford the expensive brands. LASCO's lower-priced Amlodipine has resulted in more hypertensive persons being able to afford the medication.
According to Lascelles Chin, chairman of the LASCO Group, "Amlodipine is very important. Eight per cent of Jamaicans have hypertension and most of them are very poor. They have to take that pill daily, our price is one-eighth of our competitors' which is at $120. We sell ours for between $15-$20."
LASCO also introduced 425-gram canned mackerel at $35, while competitors were selling the 400 gram for $75 each. LASCO has the lowest prices for whole milk powder, making it affordable for everyone.
Some time ago, the Government imposed a 50 per cent duty and removed the GCT exemption on this item, resulting in an escalation in prices. The LASCO whole milk powder now retails at an average cost of $140 per sachet. Without the 50 per cent duty and the 17 1/2 per cent GCT, the product would be sold for under $70 per sachet, Chairman Chin noted.
Other items that have been introduced by the company at a much more affordable price include Curves feminine hygiene sanitary napkins at approximately 40-50 per cent below the market leader; toothpaste which is approximately $100 cheaper than other brands; and bath soap, which is also less expensive than other brands.
For more information,
visit The Gleaner's website: www.jamaica-gleaner.com; click on 'VIDEOS' and watch 'Corporate Coffee Mornings with Lascelles Chin'.