Pharmaceutical Industry’s Influence on Drug Prices
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has succumbed to the mounting pressure exerted by pharmaceutical companies, leading to a significant surge in the prices of life-saving drugs and medicines used to treat various diseases. This recent decision has resulted in a 14% increase in the prices of life-saving medications, while the prices of all other registered medicines for the treatment of different ailments have skyrocketed by up to 20%.
Economic Factors and Policy Implications
The demand to raise drug prices came from both domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies and dealers. They justified their stance by citing the continuous rise in the dollar exchange rate and the ban on importing raw materials and finished drugs. Consequently, initial proposals to increase the prices of medicines gained approval from the Economic Advisory Committee of the Federal Cabinet.
According to the notification, the Drape Policy Board will re-evaluate medicine prices every three months. If there is a decline in the value of the dollar, a reduction in the prices of the aforementioned medicines may be recommended during the review meeting. These changes are set to take effect immediately, with registered medicines being sold at the new prices nationwide.
This marks the second price increase imposed by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan this year. The hike affects essential treatments for cancer, hepatitis, heart diseases, mental illnesses, diabetes, and blood pressure, placing an additional burden on patients. Unfortunately, the prices of other vital medicines are projected to increase further, resulting in a manifold increase in expenses for patients.