Reduction in medicines’ prices

The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has formally issued directives to multinational and national pharmaceutical companies about 15 to 30 percent reduction in the prices of different brands of 178 medicines. The directives may bring 15 percent reduction in the prices of 89 brands of certain medicines and 30 percent decrease will be enforced in other brands of 89 medicines. It is pertinent to mention that a highly reputed multinational pharmaceutical company “Bayer” had reduced the prices of its products by 16 percents well before the issuance of directives by DRAP.

A few months ago the federal government had allowed the pharmaceutical companies to increase the prices of their products up to 15 percent after accepting their contention that the price of imported raw material has gone up due to 30 percent depreciation of national currency against the US dollar and other major currencies of international trade. But this concession was grossly misused by few multinational and almost all national and local pharmaceutical firms. The prices of medicines for blood pressure control, heart diseases, diabetes and hepatitis witnessed 50 to 100 increases. Federal government then realised its mistake and had to take a decision of lowering the prices of wide range of medicines.

The previous decision of increase in medicines was arbitrarily extended by the firms producing BD syringes, spirit, iodine and pyodine. The price of syringes registered 95 percent increase. Clear directives for lowering the prices of these products need to be issued. Strict monitoring of pharmacy shops and pharmaceutical companies is inevitable to ensure the availability of medicines at the lowered prices. In the long term production of raw material for pharmaceutical products must be encouraged to make the country self-reliant in its manufacturing.