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Ministry pins hopes on SC to control medicine prices

Ministry pins hopes on SC to control medicine prices

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has pinned its hopes on a Supreme Court decision expected on Wednesday about empowering it to take action against the companies which have recently increased medicines’ prices.

The ministry contacted Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt on Tuesday and requested him to clarify its position before the court.

The multinational companies sought a stay order from the Sindh High Court and increased the prices of medicines, claiming that it was not viable for them to manufacture them at the rates fixed by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).

The ministry initially did not react over the issue but launched efforts to reduce the prices after facing criticism.

According to an NHS official, a company had increased medicine prices in 2013 without getting consent of the ministry’s pricing committee.

“The pharmaceutical company also obtained a stay order from a single-judge bench of the SHC. The ministry went to the court and now, after a long legal battle, the case is being heard by a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed,” he said.

“The ministry has suggested that the attorney general should request the court that it should not be stopped from taking lawful action against the pharmaceutical companies during hearings,” he said.

“If we get a decision in our favour on Wednesday we will submit it in the SHC during a hearing to be held on Feb 23 and take action against the companies which have increased the prices,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, NHS Secretary Ayub Sheikh said the Supreme Court would be requested that Drap should not be stopped from taking legal action against the companies which increases the prices without permission.

“The companies have submitted incorrect information in the high court and have increased the prices. We will inform the court about it,” he said.

Drap’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Muhammad Aslam said the authority was considering recovering from the companies the additional amount collected by them because of the increase in prices. The recovered amount would be deposited in some relief fund for people, he said.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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