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Drug prices to be reduced: Dr Zafar

Islamabad

May 4, 2019

Islamabad : Promising zero tolerance for and strict action against any malpractices within the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) – an institution known for all the wrong reasons, corruption allegedly being the topmost – the PM’s Special Adviser for Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza Friday announced that the 500% plus increase made in the prices of some medicines will be brought down to 75% as a Ramazan gift. This reduction, along with several other measures for drug pricing control, will collectively have a relief impact of Rs7 billion.

Addressing his maiden press conference after assuming office, Dr. Zafar assured strictest possible enforcement of all decisions pertaining to reduction in prices of medicines, that were rendered beyond the reach of the common people as a result of measures taken in December 2018 and January 2019.

Dr. Zafar said, pharmaceutical companies that had increased the prices of 395 medicines have been instructed to voluntarily reduce the prices by May 20, failing which the government would be constrained to lawfully act against them through drug courts. “These companies will have to return the profits they made from January 1, 2019 to May 15, 2019,” Dr. Zafar forewarned. He said, the cumulative impact of this intervention will translate into relief worth Rs1 billion. Furthermore, drug prices raised by 9 percent in January 2019 will also stand withdrawn, meaning a relief of over Rs6 billion being passed on to consumers. He also advised pharmaceutical companies to ensure uninterrupted availability of essential medicines, the list of which will shortly be released.

Dr. Zafar stated that a toll-free hotline will soon be introduced for prompt reporting of non-compliance of the price reduction measures. He said, strict action will be taken against violators.

Dr. Zafar pledged to transform DRAP into a model regulatory authority in the region. He said he felt honored to have been called to serve his own country and thanked the PM for reposing confidence in him.

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