Pill plan: BoI attempts to resolve drug policy predicament

Published: January 21, 2015
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BoI has asked DRAP to take note of the concern shown by foreign investors over the draft sent to the Prime Minister for approval. STOCK IMAGE

BoI has asked DRAP to take note of the concern shown by foreign investors over the draft sent to the Prime Minister for approval. STOCK IMAGE

LAHORE: Voicing concern on behalf of the country’s pharmaceutical sector, the Board of Investment (BoI) has asked the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to address issues of foreign investors regarding the draft of the pricing policy.

In a letter, BoI has asked DRAP to take note of the concern shown by foreign investors over the draft sent to the Prime Minister for approval.

The letter comes at a time when the pharmaceutical industry is demanding an investor-friendly drug pricing policy.

Industry officials have time and again lamented the prices of medicines that have been stagnant for the last 14 years.

This has led to several investors shying away from Pakistan, while some companies have even minimised operations. Local companies are also contemplating shifting their manufacturing operations to other countries.

The industry has suggested that DRAP ought to follow the World Health Organisation’s guideline and introduce a reference pricing system which will benefit both the consumer and industry alike.

“In most cases, the prices charged by multinational pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan are already lower than the regional average,” the letter stated.

“The proposed reduction of 45% in the prices of scheduled drugs would be unrealistic,” the letter from BoI said.

Pharma Bureau – the representative body of multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Pakistan – has written to both BoI and the Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar, penning down their concerns regarding the drug pricing policy.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2015.

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