IT is ironic to see the incumbent special assistant to prime minister Firdous Ashiq Awan telling the world about the government’s desire to reduce medicine prices.
I remember when the lady was serving as the minister for regulations and services division in 2012 she was instrumental in causing many problems for the newly established Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. So much so that she would insist on attending DRAP meetings and demanding price increases for the product of many multinational pharmaceutical companies’ medicines.
If the government and the National Accountability Bureau are investigating irregularities in DRAP then they should also probe the price increases that were allowed between 2011 and 2013.
At the same time a judicial inquiry should be held as to why some medicines are only allowed to be registered with a single multinational while national companies are denied registration on flimsy reasons.
Shahryar Khan Baseer
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2019