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Court issues notices to regulatory authority in medicine price case

April 5, 2019
 

Photo: AFP

The Lahore High Court has issued notices to the government and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan in a medicine price increase case. 

A person approached the court against the exorbitant increase in drug prices. He said that the DRAP approved a 15% increase in drug prices but pharmaceutical companies are increasing the costs by 100%.

The court issued notices to the respondents for April 11.

The petitioner, Nadeem Sarwar, has asked the court to take action against the companies and people who have increased drug prices by such exorbitant amounts.

A Rs4 blood pressure tablet now costs Rs9. A packet of antibiotics for throat infection has gone from Rs548 to Rs921. Panadol syrup for children has been increased from Rs55 to Rs68. Antibiotic medicine, Augmentin, is being sold at Rs139, not Rs112. Similarly, Augmentin DX has soared from Rs173 to Rs215.

Related: Nebulising your children will cost more because drug prices have increased

Anti-fungal infection cream, Hydrozole, has gone from Rs162 to Rs186. A pack antihypertensive Concor tablets has been hiked from Rs154 to Rs234. It means the price of a single tablet has gone from Rs4 to Rs9.

Similarly, Evion vitamin capsule burgeoned from Rs480 to Rs550 and Pazmolex drops for children from Rs139 to Rs176. Drug for cardiovascular health, TriForte, is available in the market at an exorbitant price of Rs485. It’s previous price was Rs186.

After some medicines ran short, pharmaceutical companies decided to make them available again with new packaging at increased rates, a pharmacist told SAMAA TV.

Previously, I got my medicines for Rs1,600 to Rs1,700, a patient told SAMAA TV. Now, my expenses have increased to Rs2,000.

“I can’t purchase my medicines at such exorbitant rates,” another patient said. “I’d rather die.” The government is good for nothing, a blood pressure patient said. “The drug prices are too much for me to afford.”

Related: Chocolate is better for you than cough syrup, according to a study

The mounting dollar value has contributed to the recent price hike, said the government’s representatives.

“It is the federal government that controls the drug prices,” Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told the media. “Everybody knows the dollar has appreciated significantly. And, it has badly impacted everything, including medicine prices.”

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