The recent price increase of medicines from 1.43 percent to 2.86 percent announced by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is a mere deception as some of the pharmaceutical companies have increased the prices up to 100 percent.
“The main reason behind frequent and out of proportion price increase of medicines is the man sitting right at the top as Chief Executive Officer of DRAP, who is manoeuvring the prices in favour of pharmaceutical companies in complete disregard to poor people of this country,” alleged the representatives of Young Pharmacists Association (YPA), including Vice-President Dr Muhammad Ahmed, General Secretary Dr Haroon Yousaf and Joint Secretary Dr Hina Shoukat while addressing a press conference here at Lahore Press Club on Monday.
Besides, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial leader Prof Dr Yasmeen Rashid, senior drug lawyer Dr Noor Mehar, Major Dr Anjum Saleem from Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians, Consumer Protection Society (COPS) Secretary Legal Affairs Advocate Hafiz Ahsan Naseer Aslam and Pakistan Pharmaceuticals Association President Azhar Iqbal Butt were also present.
They alleged that the incumbent CEO DRAP, who is also owner of a company, has managed and matured medicine price increase on 22 July, 2016 through SRO No.628(I)2016. This is the 4th medicine price increase within three years. They mentioned that Standing Committee of Senate in its recent meeting on 28th of July 2016 declared DRAP most corrupt department of Pakistan. “The corruption done in three years by Health Ministry is much higher than total corruption in 66 years in Health Ministry,” they quoted.
They alleged that the CEO DRAP had played a key role in all the price increases and served as a bridge between high-ups of Federal Ministry of Health and the undeclared ‘club of 50 pharmaceutical companies’. They claimed that all the price increase pushed medicine away from poor Pakistanis and thousands of Pakistanis died due to un-affordability and unavailability of medicine. “Hundreds of life-saving medicines are short in the market and this modus operandi of artificial shortage of drugs pushes people to readily accept price increase,” they added. This artificial shortage was first highlighted by Dr Zaka-ur-Rehman, Chief Drug Inspector Punjab in an official letter early this year.
They alleged that the SRO No.628(I)2016 shows that price increase is between 1.43 percent to 2.86 percent, which is deception to the courts of law, parliament and poor people of Pakistan as actual price increase is much higher. “It’s a price bomb as few companies have increased prices more than 100 percent. “This SRO has also validated all the previous price increases,” they claimed and rebutted the top officials of Federal Ministry of Health and DRAP, who had always claimed no price increase in parliament and on media.
They alleged that the incumbent CEO DRAP had been convicted by Drug Court, Peshawar in 2002 on price increase of medicine. Under section 28 of DRAP Act, they informed, a convicted person cannot be appointed in DRAP. They alleged that Federal Ministry of Health was protecting him; therefore, prime minister, president, NAB, IB, ISI and FIA have not initiated any criminal case against him.
They urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Prime Minister, NAB, ISI to take action against the illegal acts of unjustified increase in prices of medicines DRAP and Federal Ministry of Health. “The prices must be brought to the level of 2012 with immediate effect, as lives of 200 million Pakistanis are at risk,” they pleaded.
Apr 03, 2017 0