Pharmaceutical companies increase prices of medicines

Pharmaceutical companies have increased prices of medicines across the board, traders at medicine market said. Traders at Bohar Bazaar (medicine wholesale market Rawalpindi) told Business Recorder that the medicine manufacturers have increased the prices of an entire range of medicines including life saving drugs.

Vice President Medicine Market, Abdul Jubar said that the medicine suppliers earlier created artificial shortage of different medicines and then increased prices from 20 to 40 percent. He said that increase in the prices of life saving drugs is significant as the manufacturers especially multinational medicine companies have doubled the prices of life saving drugs.Giving the details of increase in life saving drugs, he said that price of angisid tab (used for acute chest pain) increased from Rs 10 to Rs 25, while injection heparin (an anti-coagulant drug used by heart patients) is not available in the market. Price of injection Decadron increased from Rs 6 to Rs 20, ventoline inhaler (for asthama) from Rs 85 to Rs 200, new markazol tab from Rs 35 to 50 and Myrin-P tab (50 tab packet) used by TB patients witnessed a price rise from Rs 250 to Rs 300, Abdul Jubar added.

He said that pharmaceutical companies have not only increased prices of medicines but have also created an artificial shortage in the market as several life saving drugs as well general medicines are not available in the market. Jalil-ul-Rehman, herbal medicine trader said that the suppliers of herbal medicines have also increased the prices of their products by 10 to 15 percent on the basis of an increase in input costs. Malik Asif dealing in homeopathic medicine said that local as well as imported homeopathic medicine prices have increased by 20 percent.

Important life-saving drugs currently missing in the market owing to non-supply from manufacturers include Numarkazol, Theropsan, Fastumgel, Estilnux, Migril, Lensnistrel, Polyfix, Somogil, Ampiclox, Selenze SR and Ciprox 500 g. However some of these are available in the black market. Similarly prices of Ibert folic tablets has gone up from Rs 76 to Rs 114, Bevidox from Rs 40 to Rs 50, Risk tablets from Rs 15 to Rs 20. Price of Betnovate, Augmentin DS and cough syrups have also increased.

President Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufactures Association Mian Assad Shuja-ul-Rehman, when contacted said that it is not feasible for the industry to manufacture some life-saving drugs due to an increase in input costs. He added that this rise in input costs, including price of electricity, natural gas, increase in salaries, rising transportation cost and different taxes and duties imposed by the government, accounts for several pharmaceutical companies stopping manufacture of some life-saving drugs which has led to their not being available in the market. He warned that the situation could further worsen and shortage would continue until the government agrees to rationalise price of medicines.

Sources in the Health Ministry revealed that a summary on Drug Pricing Policy was included in the agenda of the last meeting of the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) that sought government consent to allow pharmaceutical companies increase drug prices. However, the health minister was not available to attend the meeting and the policy was withdrawn from the agenda. The Drug Pricing Policy Board had recommended allowing pharmaceutical companies to increase drug prices based on increase in input cost – Brecorder