Govt asked to approve price increase 1.5 annually on medicines

Islamabad: Pharmaceutical industry has demanded of the government to allow medicine price adjustment of 1.5 percent per annum, which has been freezed since 2001 making it unviable for Pharmaceutical manufacturer to continue various lifesaving drugs production in the current high inflationary circumstances.

The representatives of pharmaceutical companies held a meeting recently with Madam Saira Tarar State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Where the they informed the Minister regarding difficulties being faced by the industry, it was highlighted that production of various lifesaving and emergency medicines have been in short supply in market. As many plants cannot afford ever increasing cost of raw materials, utilities, transportation and packaging material. Due to non availability of life saving medicine shortages, as thousands of patients are suffering from various diseases are deprived of proper treatment.

Dr Kaiser Waheed, Member Executive Committee, PPMA, said the government should pass on relief immediately to pharmaceutical companies on all medicines to ensure the nonstop productions and supplies of drugs to retail market, dispensaries and hospitals. Otherwise, patient will suffer hardship ,low production of more than 100 drugs have been snort supply or manufacturer have stop production ,locally whereas manufacturing of similar number of products have been decreased because of high production cost, he added.

The business climate of pharmaceutical industry has been hurt badly in the country as local investors are shifting their businesses to different industries and multinational companies are shutting down their plants, due to the government anti investors’ friendly policies and dysfunction of concerned department, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan DRAP.

He said that the DRAP has been witnessed a paralyzed authority which does not do any efforts for the facilitation of industry players but imposes news duties and charges in every month mainly on the export sector which earn foreign exchange for the country, he added.

Dr Waheed said DRAP has slapped Rs 400 million charges and duties on pharmaceutical companies on different account but it did not pay anything in return to the companies albeit it does not carry out its mandatory functions of holding meetings of different committees on pricing, registration and licensing of drugs. The government should appoint an expert and professional CEO of the authority on permanent basis and ensure the holding of meeting on time to minimize the backlog of different issues yet to be resolved by authority.

He demanded that PPMA should be given full membership in all boards instead of retaining it on an observer status. He also said that CRF collection money should be used to establish world standard labs and accredited clinical research organizations. Appellate forum should be activated ASAP to redress the pending issues. He suggested that regular meetings should be held in DRAP and shortage of staff needs to be addressed, fixation of prices may be done as soon as possible.

Salman Burney of Pharma Bureau reiterated his demands of approving upward revision on the medicine prices of local and multinational companies to reduce the shortage of crucial and lifesaving drugs in the local retail markets and hospitals.

He urged that minister to issue timelines for completion of applications and make SOPs practical in the industry for attracting foreign investment and opening of new plants of drug production in the country.

PPMA also demanded that DRAP is unnecessary creating hurdle by imposing various illogical restrictions on use of anti inflammatory steroids. PPMA also demanded that DRAP should stop charging fee on export related Approval.