Senate body receives briefing on medicines price increase


ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination on Monday received a briefing on price increase of medicines and steps to ensure maintaining its prices within reach of the common man.

Secretary Ministry of National Health Services Capt (r) Zahid Saeed briefed the committee chaired by Senator Attique Sheikh about the facts and figure of the recent increase in prices of medicines by pharmaceutical companies and measures taken by the government to control these prices.

He said that previously the increase in prices of medicines was made in 2001, however, in the year 2013, this decision was reversed back. On which the pharmaceutical companies moved to the court against the decision.

The secretary said that the Supreme Court had ordered to make a decision on prices of medicines within 10 weeks.

He said that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had issued an order to reduce prices of 395 medicines while it increased the prices of 464 medicines from hardship quota.

He informed there was no change in prices of 30 medicines while 15 per cent rise was ordered at prices of 40,000 medicines.

He said the pharmaceutical companies refused to reduce the prices of 395 medicines and instead of reducing prices they moved to the Sindh High Court and got a stay order. He added the Sindh High Court had rejected the appeal of pharmaceutical companies during the previous month.

He said the government has decided to move to the drugs court against companies on not decreasing the prices of medicines and to collect the money they collected from the people in four months due to an unlawful price increase.

He apprised the committee that drug pricing committee is responsible to fix the prices of the drugs and that the DRAP head has no role in fixing drugs prices.

Earlier, the committee was informed that the Shifa International Hospital was established at charity plot. It was further informed that the land of the hospital was obtained on the name of trust and later a committee was formed and all assets were transferred to the name of that committee.

The chairman directed the ministry of National Health Services to present a review report on new and old ordinances of PMDC. He said that things need to be improved in PMDC.