Home articles Reduction in drug prices

Reduction in drug prices

THE pharmaceutical industry has announced to bring down the prices of 395 essential medicines the prices of which were reduced by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) but not implemented by the industry and also announced to reduce prices of other 464 medicines voluntarily by 10-15 percent. Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PMMA) Zahid Saeed announced at a news conference on Wednesday that these medicines would be available on reduced rates within the next fifteen days.
This is, perhaps, for the first time that the pressure of the Government and the civil society has forced the industry to reverse its decision of hiking prices of medicines unilaterally in violation of the laws and regulations. The leadership of the pharmaceutical industry also deserves credit for responding to the demand of the people and adopting a sympathetic attitude towards their plight. Medicines are directly linked to the health of the community and their pricing must not be treated like that of POL products or demand and supply principle. There are no two opinions that the cost of input should be reflected in the prices as no manufacturer can afford to sell its products below the cost of production but it is believed and rightly so that the prices of drugs in Pakistan are unjustifiably higher than the same products in other regional countries. It is also true that some of the recent measures taken by the Government have increased in the cost of inputs including devaluation of rupee, raise in gas and electricity tariff and hike in POL products. There is, therefore, legitimate demand of the industry that the Government should reduce rates of duties and taxes on raw material and packing material to provide some relief to the industry.