Prices of 146 essential medicines increased
Time:2024-02-21 13:24

The unavailability of essential medicines led to production of spurious and substandard medicines       Capsules can be seen in this image. — PexelsCapsules can be seen in this image. — Pexels

ISLAMABAD: A day after the federal health authorities deregulated the prices of medicines, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Tuesday notified an increase in the prices of 146 medicines, which are the part of the National Essential Medicine List (NEML).

A day earlier, the Federal Health Ministry had allowed pharmaceutical companies to increase the prices of all medicines except those in the National Essential Medicines List (NEML) on their own. On Tuesday, the drug regulatory authorities increased the prices of 146 medicines included in the list of essential medicines.

The medicines whose prices were increased through a back-dated notification issued on February 19, 2024, are part of the so-called ‘hardship cases’, which were sent to the federal government several months back after pharmaceutical companies refused to manufacture them for being financially unviable.

The list of medicines whose new prices were fixed on Tuesday, include certain life-saving drugs, injectable and oral antibiotics, drugs to treat inflammation, psychiatric conditions, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, fungal illness, allergies, diabetes, synthetic hormones for female health conditions etc. The list also includes vaccines of conditions like MMR and typhoid, nebulizing solutions, iodinated contrast agents for diagnostics and anesthesia drugs.

A health ministry official told The News that of the 262 hardship cases, prices of 146 were increased as they were part of the essential medicines list. He said the prices of remaining medicines would be increased by the companies themselves after price deregulation by the federal government.

The official said government has decided to deregulate the prices of medicines to ensure that medicines are available in the market. “Due to price control, many medicines were not available in the market as manufacturers were not manufacturing them for being financially unviable. Also, importers were not importing essential medicines like Heparin due to an increase in its cost globally,” the official claimed.

The unavailability of essential medicines led to production of spurious and substandard medicines, which had flooded the market, the official claimed, adding that daily dozens of cartons of copies of important antibiotics and other essential medicines were being seized by drug inspectors across Pakistan.

“We have observed an increase in production of spurious and substandard medicines after companies stopped their production while importers refused to import them due to pricing issues.

Now after the increase in the prices of essential medicines, genuine and high-quality medicines would be available to the people,” the official claimed.


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