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The pharmaceutical industry has come to an agreement with the government over revised prices of paracetamol products, and also initiated production of the medicine, according to an official statement by the finance ministry on Wednesday.

The development comes after Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar held a meeting with heads of major pharmaceutical companies to discuss the retail price of paracetamol products, said the Ministry of Finance.

“The pharma industry agreed upon the reduced prices of paracetamol 500mg tablet at Rs2.35, paracetamol extra 500 mg at Rs2.75 and syrup at Rs117.6, which is almost half the price increase demanded by them,” read the statement.

Moreover, the production of paracetamol products has been initiated, added the statement.

The development comes days after GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) declared force majeure regarding the production of Panadol Tablets (or generic paracetamol), Panadol Extra Tablets and Children’s Panadol Liquid Range.

In a filing to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday, the company had said that it sent “several letters to various government stakeholders regarding the critical issue of extraordinary and rapid increase in paracetamol (raw material) prices in Pakistan.”

But, according to media reports, the same was rejected after a prolonged delay by the latter without any intimation of reason(s) given to the company.“

The prices of medicines in Pakistan are regulated by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), which means pharmaceutical companies cannot increase rates unless the authority gives them a go-ahead.

Talking to Business Recorder, Dr Kaiser Waheed, former chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA), the representative body of pharma companies, said that the agreement was reached between the government and GSKCH, not the “entire pharma industry”.

Waheed said the pharmaceutical industry was in talks with the government to provide subsidies to the sector. “However, the government said that it cannot afford to give any subsidy,” he added.

Last month, the PPMA warned that it will increase the prices of select medicines if the DRAP does not hold talks by Monday, October 3.

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