The federal government has approved the prices of almost 100 local and imported medicines, surging the rates up to 262% overall, a notification issued on Thursday.
As per the notification, the prices of 94 medicines have surge up between 9%-262%. The drugs included those used to treat fever, headache, heart diseases, malaria, diabetes, sore throat, flu, abdominal and stomach pains, skin diseases, postpartum issues, and eye, ear, tooth, mouth, and blood infections, as well as certain antibiotics.
Of these 68 local and 26 imported medicines, the notification said, citing decreasing availability of medicines in market, rise in the dollar value and costlier raw materials as the factors that contributed to the medicines becoming expensive.
Meanwhile, the government has not allowed pharmaceutical companies to raise prices further until June 2021.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, while Speaking to the media, said medicines that were more expensive now “are the life-saving ones and those with old formulas”.
“These drugs become unavailable due to a lack of appropriate change in their prices and end up being sold on the black market,” Dr Sultan said.
“It was important to ensure that the prices of medicines be affordable to everyone,” he added, noting that drugs available at higher prices earlier will now be readily available instead.
The Prime Minister’s aide further said the job of the government and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) was to ensure the availability of medicines to everyone in the country.
“The prices of such medicines had to be bumped up slightly, “just enough to make sure they are available to the common people”, he added.