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Ministry trying to get drug prices reduced

Ministry trying to get drug prices reduced

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services has decided to get a stay granted by the Sindh High Court to multinational pharmaceutical companies vacated.

Pharmaceutical companies have increased prices of drugs on the plea that it was not viable for them to manufacture medicines at the rates fixed by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).

Fingers have been raised at the ministry because health circles believe that prices cannot be increased without its consent.

The Minister for National Health Services, Saira Afzal Tarar, had said last week that she would hold a meeting with pharmaceutical companies to persuade them to bring drug prices back to their previous level, but nothing happened.

The Chief Executive Officer of Drap, Dr Mohammad Aslam, said he was in Karachi to get the stay order vacated.

“Pharmaceutical companies have played a very tricky game. They have filed petitions for the stay on an individual basis having thousands of pages in order to complicate the issue. Because of individual applications separate hearing of cases have been started,” he said.

“The hearing of cases will be held on Feb 23, 27 and 29 and in March,” he said.

“It is a fact that because of the stay the procedure of Drap regarding increase in drug prices could not be followed. If stays are vacated in next hearings, there is no mechanism to return the additional amount paid for drugs by consumers,” he said.

In reply to a question, Dr Aslam said he and the ministry’s secretary, Ayub Sheikh, were in touch with the law division, which was preparing a reply to get the stay vacated.

“We will meet the Attorney General to decide a line of action over the issue because the general public has been suffering and paying much higher prices than fixed by Drap,” he said.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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