Making sure your children are healthy as can be this winter will cost more now as the government has increased the prices of nebulising solutions and suspensions.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has approved an increase of up to 15% in prices of medicines after pharmaceuticals complained about the increase in the cost of imported raw materials.
Last year, the dollar increased 27% against the rupee, making imports of raw materials more expensive for the industry. To absorb its impact, the pharma sector had asked for a 25% increase in medicines price so they could continue their operations and stay profitable.
However, the government approved a 9% increase in normal medicines that are used for illnesses, such as fevers, colds and coughs, while a 15% increase was allowed in the prices of emergency medicines, meaning those that treat seizures as well as heart and respiratory problems. In some cases the increase was 17%. For example, nebuliser solution from Chiesi (pharma) will now cost Rs377 compared to the previous price of Rs320.45.
People in the wholesale market say there is severe shortage of medicines in the market and people are taking advantage of this by selling medicine at exorbitant prices in the black market. For example, Zenix and Tegral are selling at Rs2,100 and Rs1,200 against their regular price of Rs350 for a pack of 30 pills.
Pharmaceutical companies import chemicals (raw material) from abroad to make medicines, but a stronger dollar resulted in a higher cost of production for drug companies and threatened their profits.
Federal Health Minister Amir Mahmood Kiyani says the price increase was made after months of deliberation. “We don’t want the people to suffer or the industry to pack up in which case we won’t have medicine for the people,” he said.
The minister also said they are working on subsidies for medicines and will also roll out 720,000 health cards at the end of this month.