LAHORE: The government’s recent decision to increase the prices of 94 lifesaving medicines by up 262 percent has been challenged as a citizen requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) to strike down the move for being unconstitutional, on Saturday.
In this connection, the petitioner, a lawyer by profession, raised legal points against the decision and said providing healthcare services was a basic and constitutional responsibility of the government. But instead of fulfilling the obligation, the government opted for raising the medicines’ prices for the citizens who were already facing the brunt of alarming inflation, he added.
Earlier this week, the federal government allowed pharmaceutical companies to increase prices of 94 lifesaving medicines with a strange logic of dealing with long-term shortage, saying the current rates were “unrealistically”. “To address long-term shortage of some key or lifesaving medicines, the federal cabinet has allowed rationalizing prices of drugs that had been reported to be in short supply due to unrealistically low prices,” said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan.
He didn’t stop there as he added that the decision was taken in order to end the unavailability of drugs in the market due to unrealistic prices, consequent selling of such drugs in the black-market and to ensure that they were locally available instead of being sold through unregulated channels at high prices.
“The cabinet allowed increase in the prices of those drugs which are short in the market as their manufacturers have stopped their production due to losses,” Dr Faisal cited this as an excuse. It is not for the time that the PTI government has increased the medicines’ prices as the trend is being witnessed in different categories ever since it assumed power in 2018.