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Pharmaceutical Companies Seek Upward Revision in Prices of 262 Medicines

Local pharmaceutical companies have sought permission from the interim federal government to increase the prices of 262 medicines on an immediate basis to avoid any crisis within the industry.

Pharmaceutical companies led by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) mentioned that the applications on account of the price increase of 262 medicines have been pending for over 18 months, and any further delay by the authorities in deciding these cases means more essential drugs wouldn’t be available in the local market.

The demand to this effect was made by PPMA Central Chairman Mian Khalid Misbah-ur-Rehman while speaking at a press conference on Monday. He was accompanied by two former PPMA chairmen and other office-bearers of the association. The PPMA chairman informed journalists that revision in prices of these medicines had become highly essential as the last time such an increase had been allowed by the government the value of the dollar was less than Rs 200.

“In addition to the phenomenal increase in the dollar exchange rate, the production cost of medicines has increased manifold due to record inflation,” he said. He warned that more multinational drug producers would be left with no option but to wind up their businesses if the government unnecessarily kept on delaying the decision to allow an increase in the prices of medicines whose hardship cases had been pending with the authorities for long.

Rehman told media persons that over 100 essential drugs were already unavailable in the market and further increase in the number of missing medicines would be a serious disservice to the patients in the country. “The patients in such a scenario rely on spurious and smuggled drugs when the locally produced medicines aren’t available in the market,” he said.

He informed journalists that drug producers like any other industry in the country had been facing the serious challenge of constant increases in the cost of doing business due to phenomenal hikes in electricity, gas, labor, and raw material rates.

“The Pakistani medicine producers couldn’t produce anymore a medicine whose maximum retail cost has been frozen for the past two years,” he said. He said the pricing system should effectively work in the case of the local pharmaceutical industry as up to 95 percent of the raw materials of the medicines were imported whose prices increase with the devaluation of the rupee.