Federal, provincial govts issued notices over drug price hike


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday issued notices to the federal and the provincial governments along with Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on a petition challenging the recent hike in medicine prices.

A high court bench conducted a preliminary hearing of the petition filed by Nadeem Sarwar and directed the respondents to submit their replies in the next hearing.

The petitioner, dubbing the hike in prices of medicines as illegal, said that no new formula had been determined for fixation of drugs prices. “And without a price formula, the prices could not be fixed.”

The petitioner pleaded to the court to nullify the DRAP notification and order for formation of a formula to fix prices.

The authority last Friday had announced to hike prices of medicines up to 15 per cent. A spokesperson for DRAP termed the hike to be “in the larger interest of the country and patients”.

He said the increase in medicine prices was inevitable owing to various reasons. “The dollar increased by 30 per cent over the last year, which led to an increase in prices of raw material and packaging.”

“Besides, the increase in utility tariffs, employees’ salaries and additional duty put an extra burden on the pharmaceutical industry,” the spokesperson said. “The prices had to be revised to keep up with the cost incurred on the manufacturing of medicines,” he added.