According to Business Recorder, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has asked the government to raise prices in response to rupee depreciation and rising input costs.
The industry has requested an increase in medicine prices in a letter to the prime minister and the federal minister for National Health Services and Regulations, citing the industry’s reliance on imported raw materials to ensure the continued availability of medicines in the country. Given the foregoing, as well as being compelled and constrained by circumstances beyond the pharmaceutical industry’s control, it has become entirely unsustainable to manufacture medicines and ensure their availability beyond the next seven days, according to the PPMA letter.
After receiving the letter, the Ministry of National Health Services agreed to discuss the increase in the price of medicines. According to the PPMA officials, a delegation of government headed by Heath Minister Abdul Qadir Patel is likely to meet the PPMA delegation in the next few days, reported Business Recorder.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Dr Asim Rauf and other relevant stakeholders will also participate in the deliberation.
According to Business Recorder citing sources reported that the meeting would discuss the issues being faced by the pharma industry. The meeting would also consider the opening of letters of credit (LCs) to stop the shortage of medicines.
Earlier, around 40 companies informed the Drug Regulatory Authority that they going to halt production citing the unavailability of raw materials, and sought a price increase, Dawn reported.
Moreover, the medical companies also claimed that their cases looking for an increase in the price, under the ‘hardship category’ were not being decided by courts.
Under the hardship category, companies may file court cases to increase prices if production cost goes beyond the maximum sale price.
Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association chairman Syed Farooq Bukhari, while talking to Dawn, said PPMA had demanded a 28.5 per cent across-the-board increase in prices, reported Dawn.
“In 2018, one US dollar was around Rs140 but now, due to the depreciation of the rupee, that value has increased to around Rs270. Because of this situation, 40 companies have written letters to the health ministry and Drap that they will not be able to continue production of medicines [after] one week,” he said.
Pharma Bureau executive director Ayesha Tammy Haq, while talking to Dawn, said the companies were facing a severe shortage of dollars.
“It is unfortunate that the government has dollars to import vehicles but LCs (letters of credit) are not being opened. A number of containers are not being cleared. We have run out of raw materials. Moreover, there is a massive devaluation of the rupee as it has dropped by Rs60 against the dollar in just one month,” Dawn quoted Haq saying.