The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has reduced the prices of 89 essential medicines by 15% on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan and has issued a notification in this regard.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has said that the federal cabinet has decided to reduce the prices of 89 medicines by 15%. He said the prices of several life-saving drugs have also been reduced.
The rates have been decreased under the Drug Regulatory Act. Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged for immediate implementation of the decision and directed stern action against companies demanding higher prices.
Earlier on December 24, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza briefed the media that the federal cabinet had decided to decrease the prices of 89 medicines in line with the Drug Pricing Policy 2018. Under the policy, prices of innovator drugs have to be decreased by 10% three years after their launch in the market. However, considering all the aspects, the prices were decreased by 15%.
On December 26, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and another health watchdog monitoring the drug regulations declared it an eyewash as the public paid exorbitant prices for six months despite the issuance of the SRO in June.
The Drug Regulation Authority of Pakistan, working under the Ministry of National Health Services, had allowed pharmaceutical companies in January 2019 to increase the prices of the medicines from 9% to 15%. Later the pharmaceutical companies, taking advantage of a weak price checking mechanism, further increased the prices of several products by 100 percent.
According to medicine traders, over the past year, pharmaceutical companies increased drug prices by 5 times. However, on Tuesday, the ministry claimed that the prices of medicines were finally reduced as a notification had been published in the gazette of Pakistan.