ISLAMABAD, May 3 (APP):Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Zafar Mirza on Friday said that the government had decided to reverse back the maximum retail price (MRP) increase order of drugs with having relief impact of Rs seven billion for consumers.

Addressing a press conference, the minister announced to withdraw the nine percent price increase order of the government on 889 medicines with having relief impact of estimated rupees six billion for consumers annually.

He said that after detailed meetings with pharma industry, it was also decided that the pharma industry will decrease the prices of 464 medicines which they had increased after government’s Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO).

He added an estimated accumulative impact and benefit for consumers after decrease of prices will be around Rs one billion.

Dr Zafar said that with this decision the prices of around 50 medicines will come at 75% of MRP rather existing sale of over 100% to 500 % in the open market. He added this decision will assure relief to people with having impact of Rs one billion.

He said that the government would also issue an SRO regarding government decision of decreasing prices of medicines and reducing overpricing of some medicines by pharma industry besides enforcement mechanism to formulate the drug pricing system.

The minister asked the pharmaceutical companies to ensure availability of those essential medicines in the market by next week, which are unavailable since long. He said a list of such medicines will also be released soon.

He said that the decision was made keeping in view the concerns of people about increasing prices of medicines. He said that this is short term relief while the ministry has started working on long term relief for people.

He said that it was also decided to make a hotline after May 20 to receive people complaints about any increase in medicines prices and address their concerns on spot.

He said that the government has established a pharmaceutical sector reform committee to ensure more relief for people and addressing the genuine issues of pharma industry.

He said that the government has planned an enforcement strategy for fully implementation of its decision made to control the prices of medicines.

He asked the pharma industry to voluntarily reduce the extra prices of medicines by May 20.

He said that the government has decided to move to drugs courts for recovery from pharmaceutical companies on collecting extra money from consumers on selling 395 medicines on high prices since January this year.

He added this saving after recovery from the industry will be submitted in fatal deserving fun of Pakistan Bait-ul- Mal to facilitate those citizens who are unable to afford expenses of purchasing medicines.

The minister said that through an SRO issued on December 31st, the government had fixed the MRP of 889 medicines. He added the prices of 395 medicines were decreased while prices of 464 medicines were increased while prices of 30 medicines remained unchanged.

He said that unfortunately the industry had increased the prices of medicines of some medicines even upto 100% to 500%. He added estimated 100% increase was observed in prices of 39 medicines
He said that an inquiry is being conducted to probe into the matter of sale of medicines on increased prices in the market against the government’s prices. He added there will be zero tolerance regarding misconduct in running the affairs of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

He said that the government has decided to make DRAP a model regulatory authority with introduction of new reforms in order to facilitate the people and addressing the issues of quality and pricing of drugs.