ISLAMABAD–Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) has recently been assured by the Ministry of National Health Services that the firms which raised theprices of medicine will be asked to return the additional amount with a fine of 20 per cent, shortly after a case being heard by a court was decidedin its favour.
Multinational companies had sought a stay order from the Sindh High Court (SHC) and increased medicine prices in January on the plea that it was not feasible for them to manufacture medicines at the prices fixed by the Drug and Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).
Though the ministry did not react initially, it began its efforts to reduce the prices of medicines only after its act of remaining silent over the issue was widely criticised. However, the ministry has not yet succeeded in reducing the prices of medicines.
During the course of Senate’s standing committee meeting, held under the chairmanship of Senator SajjadHussainTuri, Federal Secretary Health Ayub Sheikh said that SHC has directed the companies to provide details within 15 days.“As soon as a decision in favourof the ministry is announced, we will recover the additional amount received by the companies and will also impose a fine of 20pc (on them),” he added.
Minister NHS SairaAfzalTararinformed the meeting that medicine prices had been increased thrice during the PML-N’s tenureand SHC had issued stay orders all the three times.
Speaking on the occasion, Senator MianAteeq asked the ministry to maintain its writ by getting the prices of medicine reduced.