Sixteen new pharmaceutical companies will be making drugs in Pakistan. They were issued licenses by the Ministry for National Regularization and Services (MNRS) on Friday.
This is in addition to 15 existing companies being given approval to manufacturer additional drugs.
An official of the drug pricing committee said the issuance of licenses was delayed after the devolution of the Ministry of Health under the 18th Amendment. The delay blocked an investment of about Rs3 billion in the industry, he said.
Another notification reducing the prices of 90 life saving drugs by up to over 400% will be issued on Monday, the official said. These drugs include Pegasys, whose price will be reduced from Rs13,000 to Rs6,500. The drug is used in the treatment of hepatitis. The price of ORS, another essential drug used in diarrhoea, will be reduced from Rs27 to Rs11.
Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association Chairperson Asad Khawaja said the association appreciates the government’s new initiatives, even if it took them “some time”.
He said the association believes the delay was blocking an investment of Rs6 billion in the industry.
He added that the government should also resume the registration of new drugs. The process was suspended two years ago and has allowed companies making existing drugs to “take full advantage” of this monopoly, according to Khawaja.
MNRS Secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi insisted that they were working to reduce prices of 90 drugs that were increased illegally by their manufacturers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.
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