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APP
June 30, 2020

Supreme Court asks govt to decide on drug prices within four weeks

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A
APP
June 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed the federal government to decide on the drug prices in four weeks.A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, the counsel for a private pharmaceutical company said that the order of the Supreme Court was violated in determining the price of medicines. The SRO issued by the government was not in line with the court order, he added.

The chief justice asked what the court order was. The counsel responded that the court had ordered to freeze the prices of medicines at the level of year 2013. The chief justice said that the court did not issue any suchorder on the prices of medicines.

He said that the drug regulatory authorities in the world were very strong while in Pakistan the DRAP was working under pharmaceutical companies. DRAP kept fluctuating drug prices, he added.

DRAP Director said that they were trying to control drug prices. The chief justice said that the DRAP wanted to engage all companies. Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked why it took so long to fix drug prices. The chief justice said that the DRAP should determine the drug prices in a day.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked if the government decided on the prices after the recommendations of the task force. He said the government could not take up the matter indefinitely.

The Additional Attorney General said that the government had received the recommendations of the task force but the government had not yet made a decision on the recommendations.

The Additional Attorney General said that the Drug Pricing Committee (DPC) had no authority to determine drug prices.

The chief justice said that the legitimacy of the task force was nowhere in the law. He said that the DPC determined drug prices but the government formed a task force on the decision of the DPC.

He observed that employees were working on deputation in DRAP. No one was working on deputation at the director level in DRAP, the DRAP official responded. Later, the court ordered the federal government to decide on drug prices within four weeks and adjourned hearing of the case.