Court asks Drap to reconsider drug price hike

Published November 20, 2020
A bench consisting of acting Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed Arshad Ali observed that the continuous increase in drug prices had made the people’s life miserable as they could no longer afford medicines. — APP
A bench consisting of acting Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed Arshad Ali observed that the continuous increase in drug prices had made the people’s life miserable as they could no longer afford medicines. — APP

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to reconsider its recent decision to increase prices of numerous medicines and submit a report in that respect within a month.

A bench consisting of acting Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed Arshad Ali observed that the continuous increase in drug prices had made the people’s life miserable as they could no longer afford medicines.

Justice Qaiser Rashid observed that the Drap had even increased the prices of lifesaving drugs, including those meant for diabetes, many times.

The bench also reprimanded Drap chief executive officer Asim Rauf for his statement in the court that the prices of only 94 medicines were increased and they were of low-cost drugs.

It observed that he had given a misstatement in the court as the situation in the market was all-together different.

Observes lifesaving medicines out of people’s reach

“How have you been occupying such an important post? You have no sympathy for the people, who are bearing the brunt of price hike. Now, their miseries have been increased manifold by the excessive increase in drug prices,” Justice Qaiser Rashid observed.

The bench was hearing two petitions related to health issues. One of the petitions is filed by Kohat resident Mohammadullah Khan against the alleged illegal kidney transplantation on his uncle, Haji Habib Khan, by a group, including some doctors, for Rs2.55 million. The patient died within two days of the transplantation.

The petitioner’s counsel, Malik Ajmal Khan, requested the court to direct the FIA and HCC to act against culprits and conduct a high-level inquiry against all those involved in the illegal organ trade.

The second petition is of contempt of court filed by Advocate Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel requesting the high court to take action against the chief executive of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Care Commission and high-ups of the health department for non-uniformity in rates of health facilities, including laboratories and clinics, in accordance with an earlier order of the court.

The bench fixed Dec 17 for next hearing asking the Drap to reconsider its decision of excessive increase in drugs prices.

The court ordered the Drap CEO to submit report within a month about development on this issue.

When the bench asked the Drap CEO about reason for price hike, he replied that prices of only 94 drugs were increased.

As directed by the bench, the FIA deputy director produced a list of medicines saying there is a massive increase in prices.

Justice Qaiser Rashid observed that there were reports that the prices were increased due to pressure of multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Asim Rauf said drug prices were regulated by the federal government for which a specific committee had been formed which decided prices in accordance with the prescribed formula.

Earlier, the bench was also informed by the HCC CEO that the board of the commission had been formed and was fully functional in accordance with the court’s orders.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020

Opinion

Who benefits more?
Updated 03 Aug 2021

Who benefits more?

It’s been widely assumed that China was always going to secure the most benefits.
Back to the future
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Back to the future

A civil war next door would pose serious threats to Pakistan’s security and multidimensional challenges.

Editorial

03 Aug 2021

Changing GB’s status

THE government’s plans to accord a provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan are progressing steadily and...
Taliban assault
03 Aug 2021

Taliban assault

Intra-Afghan peace talks should be promoted, but the global community must be ready for the imminent collapse of the Afghan state.
03 Aug 2021

Cancelling Aurat March

THE cancellation of Aurat March Faisalabad is exactly one of those ‘isolated incidents’ which, when viewed...
02 Aug 2021

Row over NCSW

SOME matters are simply too important to play politics on. Protection of women’s rights is one of them....
02 Aug 2021

Mismanaging LNG

PAKISTAN’S purchase of expensive LNG cargoes for the September-October delivery in less than three weeks after...
Against their will
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Against their will

Estimates indicate that some 1,000 girls from minority communities are forcibly converted to Islam every year in Pakistan.