DRAP to further drag pricing issue
SALIM AHMED LAHORE—To compound the miseries of patients, DRAP has come up with another way to drag the drug pricing issue further by reverting to the base prices of drugs prior to increase of 15% allowed on November 27, 2013 for price negotiations. The drug pricing policy was finalized and approved in march 2015, and the DRAP had already increased the drug prices after a long period of 10 years by only 1.5% per annum on November 27, 2013 to provide interim relief to the ailing pharma industry. Though the PM took back the increase but pharma companies moved to the court to get a stay order against the decision, restoring the new prices.
It has been learnt that SHC has categorically directed DRAP and Ministry for providing minutes of last two pricing committee meetings and directed to hold DPC in order to resolve the issue of non availability of essential drugs. Moreover, the SHC ordered to continue the interim injunction granted to the companies and directed the DRAP to decide the concerned hardship cases within a period of 15 days and to place a compliance report/decision before the court for its review. Therefore, the drug pricing committee of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is holding its 16th meeting on May 4th.
Sources in the industry claim that as per past practice the DRAP is not willing to lose control over the pricing issue and is trying to circumvent the court order by placing a price list for discussion showing prices prior to Nov 2013 thus initiating a non ending debate yet again over the legitimacy of the agenda list to further tangle the debate and prolong the issue.