People feeling the heat of rising drug prices had better brace themselves for more.
The multinational pharmaceutical companies are all set to further increase prices of over 140 essential life-saving drugs by 30 per cent.
Talking to The Express Tribune, sources in pharmaceutical industry said a high-level meeting has been scheduled for the end of this month in which multinational pharmaceutical companies are going to present their demand for a price hike to the government.
Pharmaceutical companies had already increased prices of life-saving drugs and other medicines a few weeks ago. Over-the-counter drugs that are commonly stocked in homes were also made expensive. Previously available for Rs7, the price of Disprin was raised to Rs10. Similarly, the price of Peditral ORS was increased from Rs10 to Rs27, CAC 1000 plus from Rs100 to Rs122, Hydraline syrup from Rs30 to Rs59, Pulmonol syrup from Rs39 to Rs65, Vermox syrup from Rs30 to Rs40, Fastum gel from Rs140 to Rs257, Somogel from Rs29 to Rs48 and Aldomet tablets from Rs340 to Rs390.
To go with the sudden surge in the prices, there is also an acute shortage of essential life-saving drugs in the markets of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad which is becoming a major headache for patients and caregivers.
Drugs which are short in the market include Thyroxine tablets, Actifed syrup and tablets, Doxyn tablets, Arinac tablets and syrup, Lexotanil tablets, Xanax tablets, Panadol Cf tablets, Erythrocin tablets and syrup.
Talking to The Express Tribune, owners and salesman at some medical stores in Islamabad said daily increases in the prices of drugs are affecting their business.
Rehan, an owner of a drug store at Abpara Market, said the previous prices have been blacked out and new prices have been printed on the new stock of medicines. “When we ask manufacturers why they increase prices so frequently, they say if you want to purchase them, then do so, otherwise leave it,” he said.
Shahid, who runs a drug store in Karachi Company, said that after the recent increase in prices, people who used to buy two blisters of tablets or bottles of syrup have started buying one. “The government should stop multinational pharmaceutical companies from increasing prices of life-saving drugs as there are many people who cannot afford to buy them.”
When contacted, Executive Director Pharma Bureau Sadia Moazzam, was unavailable for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.