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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Apr 16, 2019

Lawmaker threatens pharma companies he can take drug price hike matter to apex court

Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq, Chairperson, Senate Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination on Monday warned the pharmaceutical companies that they could face legal consequences of unauthorized and arbitrary increase made recently in the prices of drugs.
He stated this during a public seminar titled “Drug Prices in Pakistan: Myth and Reality”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here on Monday.
Mian Ateeq was of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan should put his foot down firmly and uphold commitment to the people of Pakistan by taking concrete measures to reverse the price hike of drugs immediately.
He said if Prime Minster does not take any action till Friday, he will go to the Supreme Court as public petitioner. Senator Ateeq said though his party was part of the coalition government, yet it did not mean they would turn a blind eye on this criminal price hike of essential medicine. He said the industry should get profit but there should be some limit to the profit, as it’s a regulatory industry.
Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Dr. Nausheen Hamid while taking part in the deliberations said Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) laws were being revised and the government is working on addressing the shortcomings in the drug regulatory mechanism.
For that every stakeholder will be consulted and consensus will be evolved soon. She said DRAP has registered record of around 65 thousand medicines, whereas, 45000 are being manufactured in Pakistan.
She informed that her ministry has hired an IT team to develop a centralized computer system where data of 45 thousands medicines will be updated and complete information about every single medicine will be available to the general public.
She said her ministry reviewed 889 cases and 463 hardship cases were allowed to raise their prices up to 15 per cent. She said there is a lot of export potential in the pharma industry and government has plans to explore this potential. She said with more than 700 companies in Pakistan, pharma industry’s export is only 200 million dollars, which can be enhanced.
Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) North Chaudhary Ansar Farooq said Pakistan’s pharma industry was providing the medicine at low cost and at affordable prices as compared to other regional countries such as India and Bangladesh.
He said 90 per cent raw material being imported from the abroad and the growing value of the dollar is impacting the manufacturing cost. He said pharma industry is highly regulated and highly tax paid industry, which is proving more than 40 lacs jobs.
He said the Prime Minister constituted a committee headed by Dr Ishrat Hussain to investigate the matter and PPMA welcome’s this PM initiative and will fully support. He said PPMA is complying the PM 72 hours deadline to reverse the price hike of drugs.
PMLN MNA Romina Khurshid Alam said DRAP should provide the correct facts and information to the standing Committees of National Assembly and Senate and should be held accountable for misinformation. She said above party politics, both National Assembly and Senate standing committees should call joint meetings to find solutions to this important national issue.Source: