ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regu­la­tory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), with the approval of the federal government, has announced up to 15 per cent hike in the prices of medicines.

The price hike in medicines is being attributed to the increase in the value of dollar.

According to a notification issu­ed by Drap on Friday, nine per cent increase has been approved in the prices of life-saving drugs while a 15pc hike has been approved in the prices of other medicines.

Regulatory body allows 9pc hike in prices of life-saving drugs

“The revised maximum retail prices shall be printed on the label in the manner prescribed by the Drugs [Labeling and Package] Rules 1986 and the manufacturers and importers of drugs shall furnish calculations of revised maximum retail price of drugs to the division of costing and pricing of Drap before effecting the increase,” read the notification.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Drap said that the increase in the maximum retail price (MRP) of various medicines was attributed to the increase in dollar rate — up to 30pc — last year. Accordingly, the prices of raw materials and materials used in the packaging of medicines had also increased.

The spokesperson added that due to the rise in prices of utility bills such as electricity and gases, the manufacturing cost per unit had increased as well. It had also led to an increase in the charges of additional duties, interest rates and salaries of the employees, he said.

Most of the raw materials are imported from China. However, import from the Chinese companies was stopped over environmental concerns and this was another reason that led to the doubling of prices of raw materials, the spokesperson pointed out.

He said that the price hike in raw materials had affected the availability of medicines and vaccines in the country. “Pharmace­utical companies say that it is not commercially viable for them to manufacture such medicine,” he said.

“Multinational companies are retreating and investment opportunities are declining. However, Drap ensured the availability of life-saving medicines on priority,” the authority said in its statement, which added that due to the above-mentioned reasons, Drap had recommended “nominal” increase in MRP.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019