KARACHI: Pakistan Pha­r­ma­ceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) and Ph­a­rma Bureau (PB), a representative body of multinationals, sent a legal notice to the Drug Regulatory Autho­rity of Pakistan (DRAP) for not complying with the court’s orders in formulation of the drug pricing policy and rejected the average pricing method for being ‘arbitrary’.

Earlier, Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA), had also sent a legal notice to the Authority.

The PPMA through a legal notice informed the authority that their meetings regarding the finalisation of drug pricing policy were held in violation of the order of Sindh High Court (SHC).

Moreover, the notice mentioned that the draft policy ci­r­culated by DRAP stated that ‘Reference Pricing Met­hod’ or ‘Cost Plus Pricing Me­t­hod’ would be used. How­ever, the draft policy introduced ‘Average Pricing Method’.

“This mechanism is unlawful and tantamount to a penalising the industry,” the notice said.

The thrust of the meeting called by DRAP was to justify the suggested policy which could not be forwarded to the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif resulting in delay that is again a violation of the order of SHC, the notice said.

“The PPMA therefore reserves the right to initiate proceedings in accordance with law against the Secre­tary, Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, the concerned officials of DRAP and all those responsible for noncompliance of the order of the court C.P. No. 5469 of 2013,” the notice added.

It is to be noted that SHC through an order on Novem­ber 7, 2014, expressed its displeasure and directed DRAP as follows: “It is submitted that the board’s meeting with regard to the drug policy is now scheduled to be held on November 11, which is really unfortunate. However, we very reluctantly grant further time to the respondents for complying the court’s order but with a condition that endeavor should be made to finalise the policy on the same day [18 November] and in case such is not done, the discussion may continue on the next day and till such time the policy is finalised”.

The court also directed DRAP to issue fresh notices to all concerns including one representative each from PPMA, PCDA, and PB. Moreover, the court ordered, that since the meeting has to be meaningful and decisive the concerned secretaries from the provincial governments may not be exempted from their attendance.

It warned that in case of delay Secretary Health, Min­i­s­try of NHSRC, the Chair­man DRAP and all those res­p­onsible for non-compliance shall expose themselves to the contempt of court proce­eding. The court also ord­e­r­ed circulation of the draft policy among all stakeholders.

Published in Dawn December 7th , 2014