The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Faisal Sultan has said that the price of Remdesivir, an experimental drug used for the treatment of Covid-19, has been reduced from Rs10,873 to Rs8,400.
He announced this while addressing a joint press conference along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz on Tuesday following the federal cabinet’s meeting in Islamabad.
Explaining the price mechanism of drugs, the SAPM said many life-saving drugs have run out from market after pharmaceutical companies were not allowed to increase their prices.
“We are paying higher prices of smuggled drugs but not ready to accept the rational increase in their prices,” he remarked. Dr Faisal said the government has allowed increasing the prices of 94 drugs to ensure their availability in the market. “If the cost of production is higher than the retail price then why would any company continue its production,” he added. The drug pricing committee takes into account all facts including the international prices of medicine and the cost of raw material to allow hike in medicine prices, said Dr Fasial.
Senator Shibli, speaking on the occasion, said the government’s decision to increase the prices of drugs will actually aim at reducing their prices while ensuring their quality and standard.
“After this decision, the companies will start their local production which will ultimately meet the demand and people will not be compelled to buy these in black market,” he added.
Meanwhile, a news channel reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered federal ministers to stop issuing ‘unnecessary’ statements as their opinions during a heated meeting of the federal cabinet.
“No minister should issue unnecessary statements. A minister does not have [the liberty to express] personal opinions,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by sources during the meeting, reports a news channel.
As the meeting progressed, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, pointing towards Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, said, “We have reservations over some statements of yours. You speak the most.”
At this, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid said that Mazari at times imposes herself on others. Listening to this, PM Imran warned all ministers from speaking unnecessarily and cautioned them against issuing statements on sensitive religious matters as well.
The premier said that ministers are not entitled to personal opinions because their statements reflect the government’s stance on various issues.
On another note, the prime minister expressed his displeasure at the construction of a jail on the Green Zone in Islamabad, saying that the government should protect natural habitats.
The prime minister said that he would take action against those who were responsible for the planning and execution of the project.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also chaired a meeting to review prices of sugar and wheat in the country where he was briefed that both the commodities have been imported to maintain balance in the prices.