Karachi: The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has recently demanded continuity of the system of linking medicine prices with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the bare minimum requirement for the drug industry for the availability of quality medicines at the most affordable prices in the country.
The newly elected Chairman of PPMA Tauqeer Ul Haq while speaking at a press briefing said that linkage of medicine prices with CPI under the new drug pricing regime should continue for uninterrupted production by Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry.
He said that medicine prices should be periodically reviewed in view of the inflation as up to 95 per cent raw material used in drug manufacturing was imported.
He said that in the past a number of essential drugs had become vanished in the market as their production had become infeasible for the medicine industry in absence of the system of periodic review of the prices.
The PPMA chairman said that patients were left with no option other than using smuggled medicines of questionable quality when the local industry was not able to produce essential drugs due to sheer economic reasons.
He said the periodic review of the drug prices would ensure that the drug industry would play a vital role in the economic progress of the country by generating sizable employment opportunities for fresh university graduates and labourers alike.
He said that such pricing regime would also allow enhancing export of medicines from Pakistan manifold that currently stood at Rs 300 billion annually.
Mr Haq said that the pharmaceutical industry required such incentives so that it should continue its research and production activities for introducing new medicines in the market for the greater good of the health care system.
He said that prices of 94 essential drugs had been recently increased by the government as all these medicines were extreme hardship cases as their price enhancement had been pending for over a decade.
He said that federal cabinet over two years back had approved an increase in prices of these drugs as this decision had to be implemented to ensure the availability of these essential medicines.
The PPMA chairman said that it was utterly wrong to assume that prices of medicines were generally high in Pakistan as compared to the regional countries.
He said the average price of a medicine pack in Pakistan was just Rs 160, which was quite low as compared to the prevailing drug rates in the regional countries.
He demanded special incentives for the pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan like reduction in duties, taxes, and rates of the utility services so that drug manufacturers could further enhance their role in the provision of quality health care services to people.
He mentioned that pharmaceutical industry had continued their production without any interruption during the countrywide lockdown against the spread of coronavirus so that quality medicines at most affordable rates were available to the people for their safety against Covid-19.
He said the pharmaceutical industry also ensured provision of medicines at affordable rates to the government-run and charitable hospitals across the country.
Also speaking on the occasion, former PPMA chairman Dr Kaiser Waheed said that with the right incentives and pricing regime the pharmaceutical industry would be in a position to produce medicines for cancer patients and manufacture biosimilars.
He said the PPMA provided utmost support to the government authorities including the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan for a crackdown against spurious and smuggled drugs available in the market.