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Drap to increase prices of 10,000 medicines

Updated September 09, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on Friday principally decided to increase the prices of some 10,000 medicines by 3pc across the country.

Drap Director Pricing Aman Ullah said a meeting of the Drug Pricing Committee (DPC) was held in which it was decided to increase the prices of the medicines as per the drug pricing policy.

A drug policy was made in 2015 after a gap of 15 years which was sanctioned by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet. According to the policy, the consumer price index (CPI) is referred to when increasing the prices. Because the government has announced a 4.16pc CPI for 2016-17, the prices of scheduled drugs (over 300 molecules, also called life saving drugs) will be increased by 50pc of the CPI and non-scheduled drugs will be increased by 70pc of the CPI. However, threshold drugs, which have a price of less than Rs3 per tablet, will be increased by 100pc of the CPI.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services said that according to the policy, prices should be increased each year in July but in 2016, after the DPC meeting, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the increase in prices and sought a detailed report from the ministry.

“Therefore, we are reluctant to increase the prices of medicines this year. Some of the companies went to the Sindh High Court and last month, they were given a decision in their favour that the drug policy should be implemented according to its spirit. So, it was decided to hold the meeting and increase the prices. During the DPC meeting on Friday, it was suggested that prices should be increased as per the policy,” he said.

When asked if the prices of all 70,000 registered medicines will be increased, the official said that though 70,000 medicines were registered, Drap had received just 9,500 intimations by companies last year saying they had increased their prices.

Talking to Dawn, Drap Director Pricing Aman Ullah said the request will be moved to the federal government and a notification will be issued as soon as approval is granted.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2017