Pharma companies ‘permitted’ to fix medicine prices

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ISLAMABAD: Prices of non-essential medicines are expected to jack up as pharmaceutical companies have been empowered to regulate the prices, ARY News reported citing well-informed sources.

As per details, a notification in this regard has been issued after the federal cabinet okayed the deregulation of non-essential medicine prices from the Ministry of Health.

The pharmaceutical companies have been empowered to fix prices of non-essential medicines, however they cannot regulate the medicines enlisted in the National Essential Medicine List (NEML). There are 464 medicines enlisted in the NEML.

The prices of life-saving drugs would still be regulated by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). The federal cabinet in its earlier meeting approved the deregulation of medicine which is not included in the NEML on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health.

Under the proposals, prices of medicines other than essential medicines in the national list would be exempted from the Drugs Act, of 1976 and necessary amendments will be made in the Drug Pricing Policy 2018.

Read More: Cabinet okays increase in prices of essential life-saving medicines

It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet in its meeting held on February 2 approved the increase in prices of 146 essential life-saving medicines, keeping in view the rising prices of their raw material in the global market.

The meeting was informed by the Ministry of National Health Services and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) that through the online portal of the Authority, citizens could file complaints regarding the non-availability of medicines in the market.

In the federal cabinet meeting, the prime minister instructed to compile the recommendations for necessary legislation for regulating drug prices and its onward presentation before the Parliament by the next elected government.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar called for strict action against medicine smugglers and hoarders, directing the DRAP to improve its performance.

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