Drugs price-hike: Health officials put on notice

IHC judge asks respondents to submit replies in two weeks

Our Correspondent March 11, 2016


Health ministry top officials have been put on notice for failing to control hike in prices of life-saving drugs.

Islamabad High Court judge Athar Minallah issued notices to secretary Ministry of National Health and Services as well as the chairman and director of the Drug Regulatory Authority on Thursday.

The judge directed the officials to file their replies in two weeks on a petition filed by a senior citizen against recent hikes in the prices of life-saving drugs alleging that government officials have shown “criminal silence” on the issue.

Waheed Mehmood Khan through his counsel Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry has petitioned the court saying the respondents were willfully 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 maintained.

The counsel stated that the respondents were not playing their due role and ultimately leaving the public at the mercy of medicine producers without any fear.

Chaudhry said that it was the responsibility of the state as well as the respondents to provide best possible facilities to citizens by controlling the excessive increase in the price of medicines but it seems they have failed.

The counsel also pointed out that the petitioner had sent an application to the respondents in February and tried to draw their attention towards the hike in the 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 the basic necessity of every citizen.

It is the responsibility of state and respondents to ensure that medicines are available at cheaper prices, 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.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2016.


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