Nawaz orders reversal of hike in prices of medicines

"The price raise is unacceptable," said the spokesperson at PM's Office, quoting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


APP November 29, 2013
Earlier, pharmaceutical companies had expressed their concern at working with capped prices. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday took notice of the increase in prices of drugs and medicines and decided to retract the increase immediately, said a spokesperson of the Prime Minister's Office.

The spokesperson said that the premier had termed the price raise as unacceptable and directed that prices of drugs should remain unchanged.

He said that the increase in price of medicines has been withdrawn with immediate effect and a notification has also been issued in this regard.

An inquiry has also been ordered to determine why the hike was approved.

Earlier, pharmaceutical companies had expressed their concern at working with capped prices.

“This is also a political government and we won’t put any undue pressure because public reaction could be harsh. But right now, it has become really difficult for us to operate," Nasir Javaid, chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA)  had said.

COMMENTS (7)

Imran | 7 years ago | Reply

This is very irrational decision by PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif. He didn’t know the ground realities. Price hike for medicine are stopped since 2001 and Pharmaceutical sector in Pakistan suffering from severe loss. People have to understand this is business and business needs Profits. Low profits mean low quality medicine because local pharmaceutical companies will not able to made quality products due this price issue on the other hands Multinationals companies are leaving Pakistan and prices for medicine which are manufactured by multinationals are already high. Another critical problem is shortages of drugs and in the end of the day we will have to buy expensive medicine from abroad at the time of crisis. People accept price hike on petrol, electricity, FMCG’s Product on daily basis but create chaos on hike in price for medicines. Our Neighboring country India has strong Regulatory structure and define pricing mechanism and look where India stands in Pharma market. If government will not take any serious action in this regard there will be consequences leads to death of this Pharma sector.

Gp65 | 7 years ago | Reply

@Xnain: You are correct. Apparently the prices have not been increased since 2001 leading to exit of 4. Multinationals and closure of several local drug firms according to this Dawn article. http://dawn.com/news/1051682/no-decision-on-price-hike-irks-pharma-industry

Furthermore the 15% increase had only been approved for those drugs that were not considered life saving and which had seen no price increase since 2001.

So it is understandable that there would be shortage as you mentioned.

India exports inexpensive drugs to the whole world but importing pharmaceuticals from India is not legal in Pakistan. So due to these shortages, doctors prescribe these medicines illegally. http://tribune.com.pk/story/638508/made-in-india-drug-shortage-compels-doctors-to-prescribe-smuggled-cancer-medicines/

As can be expected when drugs come illegally their quality cannot be assured because conditions for maintaining drug effectiveness such as refrigeration cannot be provided in smuggled goods.

Either the prices should be such that manufacture is profitable in he country or import from India should be legalized. The current situation needlessly puts people's health at risk.

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