The government on Friday allowed 15 percent increase in drug prices including life-saving medicines.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), after the approval of the federal government, notified from nine to 15 percent increase in the prices of different medicines.
Giving details of the increase, officials said that nine percent price raise has been made in the hardship category of medicine while 15 percent on rest of the medicines.
Sources said that the DRAP increased the medicine prices as the local pharmaceutical industry had refused supplying drugs in the markets and hospitals.
The sources also added that the local industry had withheld the supply of life-saving drugs, pressurising the DRAP to increase the prices.
The medicines not easily available in the market included anti rabies vaccine (ARV), injection Andrenaline, dental cartridges (lingnocian with adrenaline), injection nalox, injection oxcytocin, injection Phenytoin and injection phenobarbitone.
The DRAP notification says the Authority has fixed maximum retail prices of drugs subject to the condition specified. It said that maximum retail price be increased as per the Drug Pricing Policy.
According to the notification, nine percent over and above maximum retail prices as determined under hardship category during 2012 and 15 percent over and above existing maximum retail prices determined under the Drug Pricing Policy, 2018 for drugs other than the specified clause.
The notification said that the revised maximum retail price shall be printed on the label in the manner prescribed by the drugs (labelling and packing), Rules, 1986 and manufacturers and importers of drugs shall furnish calculations of revised maximum retail price of drugs to the division of costing and pricing of the DRAP before affecting the increase.
The statement issued by DRAP said that the increase in prices of the medicines has been made keeping various factors in view including 30 percent increase in the price of dollar in last one year.
It said that hike in the price of dollar resulted in increase of price of raw and packing material used in manufacturing of the medicines.
The statement added that all these factors contributed in increasing the financial burden on the pharmaceutical industry. It also said that local industry is importing the majority of raw material from China and 50percent industry there is closed due to environmental reasons.
The statement added that non-availability of some medicines in the market was also being reported and one of the reasons behind it was the prices of the medicine also.
DRAP claimed that the industry informed the authority that it had become difficult for the industry to manufacture some the medicine due to lower prices of the drugs and business point of view. The drugs also included life-saving drugs while it was priority of DRAP to ensure the availability of these drugs.
DRAP statement said that already some of the multi-national drug manufacturing companies have closed their operations in the country and few more instead of increasing their investment are mulling to wind-up their operations here.
The statement also said that the pharmaceutical companies were continuously demanding from DRAP to increase the prices of the medicine viewing the fluctuating price of dollar in the market of Pakistan.
'DRAP didn't increase the prices of the medicine until the shortage of life-saving drugs was reported in the market,' the statement said.
However, the decision of increase in the prices of medicines to ensure the availability of life-saving drugs in the country and it was also necessary for the survival of the industry as it was fulfilling 90 per cent medicine needs of the country.
The statement also said that after negotiating with all stakeholders, DRAP decided to increase nine to 15 per cent prices of different medicines. The decision has been taken for the availability of medicines and promotion of pharmaceutical industry.
The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) after following the legal procedures has approved the increase in the prices of medicines, the statement said.
Director Controlling and Pricing DRAP Amanullah said that hardship medicines include those for which the industry claimed that it was impossible to manufacture without increase in price.
He also said that government cannot afford shortage of medicines in the country.
Govt raises drug prices by 15 percent