ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has notified prices for 25 new molecules due to which patients suffering from different chronic diseases will be able to get the medicines within the country rather than waiting for their imports from abroad.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Sajid Shah, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), said that all the molecules were new and they were approved by the former government.

“Drap has just notified the maximum retail prices (MRP) of the molecules so that the companies would not sell the products beyond MRPs. However, companies can sell the medicines at lower rates,” he said.

Reacting to the government move, Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) Syed Farooq Bukhari appreciated the decision of the government claiming that most of the molecules were of renowned multinational companies (MNCs).

Pharmaceutical manufacturers appreciate govt’s move

He said the government decision would give hope to MNCs to stay in the country as they were earlier considering leaving Pakistan.

According to the document available with Dawn, the MRP of 30 tablets of Lorviqua 100mg, used for the treatment of lung cancer, will be Rs846,857. As many as 10 sachet of Zerbaxa, used for urinary system infections, will be available at the MRP of Rs153,566. Seven tablets of Ibrance, used for breast cancer, will be available for Rs74,510.

The notification stated that the MRP of 20 tablets of combination of Paracetamol and Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride will be available for Rs192. The medicine is given for temporary relief of pain associated with sleeping difficulty for example headache, migraine, backache, arthritis, etc.

It said that the MRP of 50 tablets of Bilastine, used to relieve symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, will be Rs1,723. As many as 14 tablets of Trelagliptin, 50mg, used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), will cost Rs10,263 and 100mg tablets of the same brand will be available for Rs17,105.

As many as 10 tablets of Tofacitinib 10mg, used to treat moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, will be available at MRP of Rs26,710.

The notification further stated that one vial of Polivy 30mg injection, cancer medicine, will be available at MRP of Rs320,000.

One vial of Etanercept 50mg, used for arthritis, will be available for Rs26,400. The MRP of one vial of Hepatitis-B Immunoglobulins injection will be Rs10,275.

An official of the ministry concerned said that a number of people used to buy these medicines from the black market as they were not available in Pakistan.

“They get smuggled medicines which cannot be trusted. So it is a great decision of the government as the patients will get authentic drugs and the flight of foreign exchange will also be reduced as a result of this government move,” he said.

Mr Bukhari said that the former government had approved prices of these drugs and the Drap has only notified them now.

“The decision will increase the competition in the market and because of this government move, prices of medicines will be reduced. Moreover as most of the medicines are high-end products of renowned MNCs, we desperately needed new molecules as the country cannot depend on old molecules for a long time,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2023

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