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January 13, 2019

Rise in drug prices to have disastrous impact on poor: PIMA


January 13, 2019

Islamabad : Expressing shock and concern over the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan’s decision to enforce a 9-15% increase in the prices of medicines, the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) has urged the government to review its decision; announce health subsidy; to meet its financial deficits by other means; and to improve the existing health problems on priority basis.

“Rising inflation has hit the common man in every sphere of life, reflecting the government’s inability to cope and plan for the welfare of the nation. Even if one accepts the justification on the grounds of devaluation of the rupee against the dollar, it is deplorable that the crunch is yet again being transferred to citizens who are already struggling to survive,” the President of PIMA Prof. Afzal Mian and General Secretary Prof. Khubaib Shahid have stated.

PIMA has articulated its stance by pointing out that healthcare, being an essential service, should have been given subsidy by the government. Even with rising inflation, drug prices should not have been raised, because the pharmaceuticals are already making enough profit in their business.

“Any problems being faced by the pharmaceutical industry should have been tackled by easing taxes and subsidizing the manufacturing and import of medicines rather than increasing the price. Inflation should be addressed by raising taxes on luxuries and nonessential items. Taxes on tobacco could have been raised further; cosmetics, luxury cars, electronic goods and the like may have been targeted to meet the deficit, instead lifesaving and other essential medicines have been made out of reach of the poor and middle class,” the statement adds.

PIMA believes that the drug prices’ increase is quite contrary to what the nation expected from a government that had pledged to reduce its own expenditures.

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