Medicine price hike challenged in LHC

Recent notification allowed surge in prices of 45,000 medicines


Our Correspondent January 09, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: The exorbitant increase in the price of medicines was challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) probe over the matter in order to fix liability on those found guilty of breaching consumer rights.

The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to bring the medicine prices in conformity with the notifications Nadeem Sarwar, in his petition, contended in the court that the drug regulatory body gave approval of price increase of medicines in two phases.

On December 31, 2018, the DRAP issued a notification for the price adjustment of 889 medicines.

Out of these 889 medicines, the prices of 395 were reduced, whereas prices of 463 medicines that fall into hardship categories were increased up to 200% based on their high cost of production and formula prices.

The DRAP also allowed a further increase in the prices of these 463 medicines up to 9% due to the increasing dollar rate.

Even after such a mammoth increase, some companies have further inflated the medicine prices illegally by another 15% without the approval of the regulatory body.

The second notification issued by the DRAP on January 10, 2019 allowed all regular drugs registered with the authority to increase their prices by 8% to 15%.

There are 65,000 medicines registered with DRAP out of which 45,000 medicines are available in Pakistan. The recent notification allowed surge in prices of all these 45,000 medicines.

He contended that “maximum retail prices of drugs may be increased under paragraph 12 (8) of Drug Pricing Policy 2018,” adding, “9% over and above the maximum retail prices determined as determined under the hardship category during the year 2018; and 15% over and above existing maximum retail prices determined under the Drug Pricing Policy 2018 for drugs other than those specified in clause.”

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