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Drug prices in Pakistan among world’s lowest, claim manufacturers

Drug prices in Pakistan among world’s lowest, claim manufacturers

LAHORE: Joint efforts of the pharmaceutical industry and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to ensure availability of affordable, quality drugs in the country had improved access of patients to several critical drugs, including thyroxine and anti-TB drugs, the Pharma Bureau and the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufa-cturers Association (PPMA) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the two organisations refuted recent media reports that drug prices had seen a quantum jump in recent weeks.

They claimed that the prices in the country were among the lowest in the world since the government regulated the market.

“This is the highest level of regulation in the world... the prices of all medicines have been frozen across the board since 2001 and it is only now after 15 years that the government has allowed a meagre adjustment of less than two percent,” the statement said.

The statement clarified that only “a few life-saving medicines” had been picked for the increase because their marketing had become “non-viable owing to a rise in input costs such as utilities, fuel, wages and transport”.

The Pharma Bureau and the PPMA alleged that “vested interests have begun spreading disinformation and maligning” the drugs industry, as well as DRAP, with incorrect figures. “A recent report, for example, has wrongly stated that patients are paying an additional Rs2 billion daily because of price hike.

“This means (that the additional burden of price hike) is over Rs730bn annually, whereas the industry (size) in Pakistan is a mere Rs275bn,” the Pharma Bureau and the PPMA contended.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016

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