The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved the new “’pharma reform” which is meant to lower prices across the board on all manner of medications, toiletries and even cosmetics.
The new policy will not only lower the import duties on such items, lift regulatory impediments to the import of cosmetics and the import licensing process will be simplified. The number of Israeli official and parallel importers will be expanded and the growth of small and medium-sized Israeli manufacturers will be enabled.
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Israelis see reports on the news on a regular basis showing how simple over the counter medications like aspirin and acetaminophen cost much more in their country than in Europe. Imported soaps and cleaners also cost a lot more. Reasons given for this range from higher costs in the importation of such goods, local monopolistic practices and regulations that ad to the costs of local production.
The reform, which will take effect next year, includes products for daily use including shampoo, conditioner, body soap, body cream, hand cream, hair cream, aftershave, aluminum-free deodorant, face powder, etc.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett commented. “This is a significant and long overdue step that will lead to a dramatic easing of restrictions on the import of cosmetics to Israel. We will continue to lower the cost of living to benefit the citizens of Israel.”
He added in a Facebook post that this would facilitate imports, which will increase competition in the market.
“We go through domain-domain, product-product, and check if there is anything that can be done to make it cheaper,” he said. “I wanted to understand, for example, why shampoo, toothpaste, cream or nail polish cost much more in Israel than in the United States.”
The answer, he said, at least in part, has to do with the fact that each product needs a separate license from the Ministry of Health, which makes imports cumbersome and makes the product more expensive.