Govt approves second hike in drug prices in a month


LAHORE: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has notified the increase in prices of drugs from 22 to 35% second time in a month after approval from the Federal Cabinet

The DRAP notification, dated October 5, 2020, approved an increase in the rates of 235 drugs ranging between 22% and 35%.

According to the publication, the latest spike in prices has come head over heels of up to a massive 510% increase in prices of 94 medicines only in last month.

The federal cabinet okayed the raise earlier this month, which practically is the second approval of medicines within one month.

The DRAP’s earlier notification, dated September 17, 2020, to grant approval of increase in prices of 94 drugs was released two weeks later on September 29, while the second notification, dated October 5, 2020, granting approval of increase in prices of 235 medicines was released again two weeks later on October 19.

New drugs

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill has said that these were the new drugs whose prices have been fixed for the first time so there is no question of increase.

‘Hike approved to ensure availability’

While explaining the reasons behind the September price hike, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had said drugs that are more expensive now “are the life-saving ones and those with old formulas”.

“These drugs become unavailable due to a lack of appropriate change in their prices and end up being sold on the black market,” Dr Sultan had said.

“It is important to ensure that the prices of medicines be affordable to everyone,” he added, noting that drugs available at higher prices earlier will now be readily available instead.

The job of the government and DRAP, he explained, is to ensure the availability of medicines to everyone in the country.

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