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Pharmacist body fears another drug price hike

By Our Correspondent
June 10, 2020

Islamabad : Claiming a 50 per cent increase in drug prices is on the cards, the Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association has sought the intervention of the Supreme Court chief justice to prevent the hike.

In a letter to the chief justice, PYPA general secretary Dr Furqan Ibrahim insisted that the relevant authorities were understood to have finalised a plan to increase medicine prices by 50 per cent next month and would seek its approval from the federal cabinet during budget discussion.

He said the sought-after price hike would be between two and four per cent but actually, the drugs would become 50 per cent costlier.

Dr Furqan also said the drug regulator won't fix the prices of enlisted medicines to the misery of patients, while the import of non-essential Indian drugs would continue. He feared an artificial drug shortage on the market to advocate price hike.

The PYPA general secretary also claimed that the prime minister's orders to reduce drug prices following an increase of up to 400 per cent awaited action.

He added that the regulator had enlisted around 20,000 non-essential medi­cines, including herbal ones, oils and cosmetics, without fixing prices and they're selling at the rates 20-50 times higher than the registered ones' and the same was the case with a number of such drugs and medical devices made in India.

Dr Furqan said Pakistan had large reserves of salt and minerals used in drug making but but still sodium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium iodide and calcium carbonate were imported from India.

He also complained about the import of a number of finished medicines and raw materials from India despite their production in the country.

The PYPA general secretary prayed the Supreme Court chief justice to step in to block the likely drug price hike, order the reduction of drug prices to the Nov 1, 2013, level, and act against the culpable officials.

He also sought the immediate seizure of drug import, pricing and registration records fearing damage to them.