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KARACHI: Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has drawn the attention of Dr. Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health, towards what the TIP said manipulation in Drug Pricing Policy 2018 by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP)’s Costing and Pricing Directorate by hiding the breakdown of markup/factor of 245% to 355% in the policy for locally made drugs in formulae for hardship cases price, which was 70% in Drug Pricing Policy 2018, causing an additional cost of Rs25 billion to the people.

In a letter to Dr. Faisal Sultan, the TIP vice chairperson, Justice Nasira Iqbal (Retd), said that a complaint has been received, which alleged about a very serious act of getting the approval of the Cabinet, and also Supreme Court of Pakistan, by DRAP Costing and Pricing Directorate of hiding the breakdown of Markup/Factor of 45% for imported drugs in the formulae, which is given in Appendix II, but the 245% to 355% in the policy for locally made drugs in formulae for hardship cases price, which was 70%, deleting it in the Appendix-II of the Drug Pricing Policy 2018.

Also, due to the non-transparent jacking up of the factor/markup on the cost of manufacturing from 70% in 2015 to 240%/355% by DRAP in 2018, the drug prices in Pakistan have increased by 400% in the last 3 years, which has caused over Rs25 billion additional cost of drugs to the people of Pakistan.

Appendix II of the Drug Pricing Policy 2015 comprises 12 components of markup/factor, 70% for locally-manufactured drugs and 8 components of markup/factor for imported drugs.

And in the Drug Pricing Policy 2018, all the 12 components in the markup/factor for locally manufactured drugs are deleted, and only 9 components of markup/factor for imported drugs are stated.

Both appendices II in the Drug Pricing Policies of 2015 and 2018 have been prepared and issued by the same director, Amanullah, director of Costing & Pricing, Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan, who is in better position to explain the reason of this serious ambiguity in 2015 and 2018 polices, the TIP stated.

The TIP observed that according to the submitted documents, Drug Pricing Policy 2015 and Drug Pricing Policy 2018, prima facie, non-disclosure of components in Appendix II of factor/markup of the cost of locally-made from 70% in 2015 to 240%/355% has caused the highest drug price increase in Pakistan.

This missing information in distribution in 13 components of 355% in 13 Appendix II was hidden from the Cabinet while taking its approval in 2018, and from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in HRC No. 2858 of 2006 and CMA No. 3968/2018 on 3 August, 2018. The TIP requested the special assistant to prime minister on health to examine the above issues and ambiguities.

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