Talks underway over hike in drug prices: Mirza

KARACHI: Refuting the increase in medicine prices, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has said that talks are underway with the pharmaceutical companies over hike in prices of medicine.

“Without notification from the ministry, medicine prices cannot be jacked-up,” Dr Zafar Mirza said on Tuesday. The SAPM said that prices are reviewed every year after budget and talks are underway with the pharmaceutical companies in this context.

Dr Mirza said that testing capacity for coronavirus is being further enhanced in the country. He said that the death ratio of coronavirus patients remained low in the country due to better arrangements made by the government in this regard.

He said that it is a good thing that the number of Covid-19 cases have also declined. However, he said, the people should follow the standard operating procedure (SOPs) to combat the virus. The SAPM said the government would ensure the implementation of SOPs to control coronavirus.

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Earlier, it was reported last week that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved an increase in prices of medicines up to 10 per cent.

According to a notification issued on Saturday last, the regulator had allowed pharmaceutical companies to increase prices of their life-saving drugs by up to 7 per cent and other drugs by up to 10 per cent. The decision to raise drug prices had been taken in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

Earlier in January, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) had notified reduction in prices of 89 medicines on directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan after the federal cabinet reduced the prices in its meeting.

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