ISLAMABAD - The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan on Saturday reduced the prices of around 78 such medicines which were illegally increased by the pharmaceutical companies.

The DRAP this time issued an official order mentioning the names and sizes of the medicines fixing new prices. The official order issued by DRAP has named 78 medicines of different sizes. 

An official informed The Nation that the 78 medicines in revised rate list also include the drugs which were life-saving and became unaffordable for common man.

“Prices of the some of the medicines in the list were increased upto 400 per cent,” official said.

However, senior officials at the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) wishing anonymity said that though the prices of 78 medicines have been reduced, the policy which led to increase the prices still exists

“Drug Pricing Policy 2018 is still active and approved by the cabinet while the newly issued SRO for reducing the prices is conflicting with the policy,” said official.

Authority issues order mentioning names and sizes of the drugs

The official said that neither the policy was amended nor the previous SROs under which the prices were increased were withdrawn by the government and still they are in intact.

The official also said that on the other side no proper investigation was held against any person involved in the prices hike and no one has been held accountable so far. “No company is prosecuted nor any independent investigation is conducted, neither any recovery is made in this connection,” said the official.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza earlier had stated that pharmaceutical companies disobeyed orders for reducing prices of 395 medicines, adding that the ministry would approach drug courts for recovery of around Rs8 billion from the industry.

Dr Zafar Mirza in a press briefing had said that prices of 395 medicines had to be decreased from January when the government had fixed new prices of the medicines.

He said that the government on December 2018 had approved the price increase of 464 medicines and decreased the prices of 395 medicines which the industry had not implemented

Dr Zafar Mirza said that the pharmaceutical industry challenged the decision of decreasing the prices of 395 medicines in court, while the ministry contested and finally the court gave its verdict in the favour of the government for reducing the prices.

Despite the court’s order, the pharmaceutical companies did not reduce the prices and challenged the writ of the government, said Dr Mirza.

Dr Mirza had also announced withdrawing of the 9 per cent increase given in the prices of the medicines and it will issue an SRO for implementation. He had stated that prices of medicines were increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent in the category of 9 percent increased given.

Briefing about the 464 medicines which prices were increased from 100 per cent to 500 per cent illegally by the pharmaceutical companies, he said that the prices will be reduced to 75 percent.