National medicines policy to be announced soon: Dr Zafar

ISLAMABAD, May 16 (APP):Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Zafar Mirza on Thursday said that the government has decided to present a new national medicines policy to regulate the pharmaceutical industry and controlling the drugs prices.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said that the new policy is being made in consultation with all stakeholders to ensure availability of life saving drugs and keeping prices of all drugs in reach of a lay man.
He said that the new medicines policy will also cover the aspect of rules and regulations to streamline the production of medicines and maintaining its quality as per international standard.
Dr Mirza said that under this policy, the government will also get inputs from the stakeholders for announcing more incentives for pharma industry in order to convince those producing standard medicines in the market.
He said that the new policy will also manage the issues related with the sale of medicines without prescription of medical practitioners and open sale of unauthorized medicines to customers.
He said that the government has decided to make Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (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.
The minister said that quick response of government to normalize the prices of medicines will have relief impact of Rs 10 billion on patients. The government has decided to utilize this amount on further serving the ailing population, he added.
He said that the government will ensure availability of essential medicines and life saving drugs in the market on normal rates. He added around 50 to 60 such medicines are still unavailable in the market and the pharma industry has been asked to manage these medicines for patients.
He said that meetings will be held with representatives of pharma industry in Lahore and Karachi to get assurance from them regarding production of these unavailable life saving drugs in the markets.
He said that the ministry has got approval from the federal cabinet on its initiatives to address the issue of recent increase in prices of medicines on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan in order to give relief to people.
He added the cabinet has approved that the prices of those 464 medicines which increased over 75 percent will be reversed to actual increase of 75 percent. He added there were concerns in public about increase in prices of 464 medicines and overall 899 those medicines of hardship category.
He said that the pharma industry has assured that they will manage the increased prices of medicines on new batches.
He said that the government was also working on assessment of standard of medicines being produced by the local pharma industry to maintain its quality. He added the government is also vigilant on sale of illegal, spurious, unregistered and fake medicines in the market.
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.
He said that unfortunately the industry had increased the prices of some medicines. He said that after detailed meetings with pharma industry, it was also mutually decided that the pharma industry will decrease the prices of 464 medicines which they had increased after government’s Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO).
Dr Zafar also announced to withdraw the nine percent price increase order of the government on medicines. 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 fund of Pakistan Bait-ul- Mal to facilitate those citizens who are unable to afford expenses of purchasing medicines.
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.
The minister said that the ministry of national health services in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan will revamp the entire health system of the federal capital and make it a model health city of the country.
He added all major hospitals of federal capital are being revamped to have quality medical care services for population of Islamabad Capital Territory. He added the government will also improve the quality of 53 dispensaries working in the federal capital.
He said that the government has completed mapping of private health facilities in the federal capital while in next phase it will start mapping of public sector health facilities. He added the main objective behind this exercise is to complete the requirements as per demand and improving the quality of service delivery system for patients.
He said that keeping in view the existing burden of patients on Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the government has planned to construct new hospitals besides improving the health centres to share the patients’ burden.