ISLAMABAD: The policy board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Thursday suspended the decision to increase medicine prices by 15 per cent.

On November 28, DRAP through a notification increased prices of 11,000 medicines by 15 per cent, excluding life saving drugs.

However, the next day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the increase and ordered withdrawal of the notification.

A participant of the meeting, on condition of anonymity, said although the notification was withdrawn the next day, pharmaceutical companies started creating confusion and some of them increased prices of the medicines after obtaining stay order from the Sindh High Court.

The board recommended that a consensus document regarding the pricing policy should be developed in consultation with the stakeholders, keeping in view the interest of the general public.

“It has been decided to suspend the notification to resolve the issue. Companies will be instructed to ensure pre-November 28 prices,” he said.

According to spokesman, Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar while talking to participants of the meeting said the government was giving prime importance to the provision of safe, efficacious and cost effective medicines to the general public.

She said that there will be no compromise on quality issues and anybody indulging in any wrong practices shall be dealt with sternly.

There are as many as 55,000 registered medicines.

Of these, only 16,000 are being sold in the market and at least 5,000 drugs are in the negative list or life saving drugs.