ISLAMABAD: The prices of various medicines have witnessed an increase of 16 percent to 60 percent in the market, Business Recorder has observed.
During a drug market survey, drug dealers and retailers here on Tuesday told this correspondent that the prices of a number of drugs especially being used for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and other diseases’ treatment have registered an increase of over 16 percent to 60 percent within the past few weeks.
However, traders said there was no medicine shortage in the local market following an increase in drug prices and crackdown against the hoarders and smugglers launched by the relevant state departments.
According to traders, the price of tablet Exforge being used for blood pressure has witnessed an increase of 60 percent as it went up from Rs1,000 per pack to Rs1,600 per pack, Seretide Diskus from Rs840 to Rs940 per pack, tab Mixtard 30 being used for the treatment of diabetes went up from Rs760 to Rs960 per pack reflecting an increase of 26.3 percent, Tab Surbex Z price went up from Rs267 to Rs352 per 30 tablet pack showing an increase of 31.8 percent.
Moreover, price of gemsoline capsules went up from Rs1,050 to Rs1,225 per pack reflecting an increase of 16.66 percent, Osnate-D tablets’ price went up from Rs399 to Rs479 per pack reflecting an increase of 20 percent, CAC tablets’ price went up from Rs194 to Rs234 per bottle and Nuberol forte price went up from Rs110 per pack to Rs140 reflecting an increase of 27.3 percent.
The current increase in various medicine prices is in addition to the permission of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) which on May 19, 2023, allowed pharmaceutical companies to increase 14 percent price for life-saving drugs and 20 percent in other drugs.
Moreover, recently Caretaker Federal Minister for National Health Services Dr Nadeem Jan has directed the relevant quarters to take action against profiteers. In his directives to the DRAP, the minister has asked the federal regulator to impose heavy fines against profiteers as per the DRAP Act. However, on ground the situation is otherwise.
A member of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) commenting on the situation said that the overall situation as compared to a year ago has significantly improved and the former coalition government has allowed increase in drug prices as well as providing the industry a better environment to grow in the next few years.
However, he said that the local pharmaceutical industry faced serious crisis during the past few years as companies kept on struggling to replenish their supplies amid a shortage of essential life-saving drugs and other surgical instruments.
The major reasons behind the price increase remained massive devaluation of the Pak rupee, a significant increase in input costs including gas, electricity, transportation, salaries, increase in raw material prices, and other such issues.
“The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan has experienced significant growth in recent decades, with over 800 large-volume pharmaceutical formulation units, including those operated by 25 multinational companies. However, the industry faces challenges such as an import-based model, pricing disputes, quality control issues, economic crises, talent management problems, and legislation prohibiting the sale of brand name drugs,” he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023