ISLAMABAD: A senior citizen has approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against recent hikes in the prices of lifesaving drugs and alleged that key government officials have shown “criminal silence” on the issue.
Waheed Mehmood Khan through his counsel, Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry, has petitioned the IHC saying the respondents were wilfully depriving people of their fundamental right. They were denied a safe and healthy life by deliberately allowing pharmaceutical companies to exploit and harm the public without obstruction, he added.
Mehmood has made Minister of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination secretary, and the Drug Regulatory Authority chairman and pricing director respondents.
The counsel stated in the petition that the respondents were not playing their due role and ultimately leaving the public at mercy of medicine producers without any fear. “Securing the interest of the general public is paramount responsibility of the respondents,” he said.
Chaudhry said that it was responsibility of state as well as the respondents to provide best possible facilities to citizens by controlling excessive increase in price of medicines but it seems they have failed. “It is an open failure on the part of respondents and state machinery,” he said.
The counsel said that the petitioner sent an application to the respondents in February and tried to draw their attention towards the hike in price of medicines but they did nothing except giving verbal assurance. He said that the petitioner was seeking immediate measures against the “skyrocketing prices of medicines.”
He maintained that the issue was of public importance and required urgent attention as life saving drugs were basic necessity of every citizen. It is responsibility of state and respondents to ensure that medicines are available at cheaper price, Chaudhry said.
He prayed the court to direct the respondents to issue a price mechanism for medicines in order to enhance the scope of the Drug Regulatory Authority Act, 2012.
Moreover, he requested the court to direct the respondents to explain what practical steps they had taken so far to control excessive increase in price of life saving drugs.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2016.
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