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April 21, 2019

Patients bound to buy medicines on unauthorised prices


April 21, 2019

Rawalpindi : Tall claims being made by almost all the concerned government authorities on checking unauthorized increase in the prices of medicines have proved to be mere rhetoric, at least so far and the poor patients have no other option but to purchase drugs over and above the approved maximum retail prices (MRPs).

The federal government had approved nine per cent increase in MRPs of 889 medicines and 15 per cent increase in prices of certain medicines but in open market, not less than 350 medicines are being sold at MRPs with an increase of over 15 per cent to 300 per cent making live of poor patients miserable.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) claimed to have suspended production of 143 medicines due to overpricing and seized the stocks of 226 medicines yet it helped a little in controlling sale of medicines on unauthorized prices.

A number of medicines which are used widely both for treatment of communicable and non-communicable ailments are being sold with an increase of over 300 per cent as compared to the old prices, said a salesman serving at a leading chain of medical stores in town.

He said a number of medicines are being sold at much higher prices as these are being termed ‘short’ while in actual there is not any shortage of the drugs.

It is important that Kenakomb, a type of skin cream is being sold at Rs150 instead of its old price of Rs78 and a pack of tablet Triforge is being sold at Rs485 while its old price was Rs168.

Similar trend in increase of prices is witnessed in a number of other medicines as a pack of Tablet Concor 2.5 mg is being sold at Rs125 while its old price was Rs60 and a pack of Tablet Concor 5mg is available in market at Rs234 instead of its earlier price of Rs158. Concor is a beta blocker used mainly to control certain heart conditions including angina and in a number of heart patients, it is used to manage high blood pressure.

A pack of Telfast tablet used for management of allergy, cough and cold is being sold in retail market for Rs584 while earlier it was available at around Rs300.

Many medicine manufacturers have decided to reduce the prices of their products after orders issued by the government authorities but they are not in a mood of taking back the available stocks of their medicines from open market which is being sold at new prices being termed unauthorized, said owner of a medical store operating along Tipu Road.

It seems as a number of medicine manufacturers want to sell their available stocks at new prices and then they would supply stocks at reduced rates, he said.

Why the patients are being punished for failure of government in controlling unauthorized increase in medicines prices, said a heart patient, Khalid Mehmood, aged 49. He said the medicine manufactures are fleecing poor patients and the government has no policy to compensate those who are paying much higher prices for even life saving drugs.

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