Govt, manufacturers agree to revisit policy

Consensus emerges over amendments, availability of essential drugs

APP April 30, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination and pharmaceutical manufacturers have agreed in principle to revisit the Essential Drug Availability and Pricing Policy.

A meeting of the sub-committee of the conveners constituted by Federal Ombudsman M. Salman Faruqui was held under the Chairmanship of Brig (Retd) Dr Muzammil Hassan Najmi, according to a press release.

The existing drug policy was discussed with a consensus emerging on the amendments required in the policy for meeting the objectives of availability of efficacious, affordable and essential drugs.

Faruqui was apprised on the progress made to ensure the availability of essential drugs at affordable prices. He appreciated the efforts of the government and the manufacturers to resolve the issue of availability and price.

Faruqui said that the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat had taken cognisance of the non-availability of essential drugs in the country and had constituted a committee comprising eminent doctors, pharmacists, drug manufacturers and other stakeholders.

He emphasised the need for speedy finalisation of the report as it affected the health of the people.

The Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Senior Advisor and Secretary of the Committee on Essential Drugs, Jaweed Akhter, gave detailed briefings to the members on the committee’s deliberations and other consultative meetings held with stakeholders in this regard.

“It is the first time that a comprehensive pricing policy has been formulated and the government is open to improvement in consultation with the stake holders to meet national interest,” Minister of Health Secretary Muhammad Ayub Sheikh said.

Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) CEO Dr Muhammad Aslam gave two presentations on measures for availability of drugs and pricing mechanism.

He said that DRAP has updated the national essential drug list for 2016, which contains 419 drugs.

The Chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry raised issues regarding licensing, registration and pricing.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.

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