Karachi, August 11, 2016 (PPI-OT):Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has warned that government should not consider any plan to introduce the system of fines and punishments for medicines’ companies on account of “Unauthorized price increase” saying that such a regime if and when implemented would simply mean the immediate force shut down of the national Pharma industry.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, the spoke person of PPMA said that there was no point for the govt to penalize the Pharmaceutical industry for the supposedly any irrational or illegal price increase of medicines when the industry had been barely able to continue with its production activities owing to sheer hostile environment to do Pharma business.
The PPMA, according to the statement, took strong exception to the recent presentation made by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to the Senate Standing Committee on Health saying that a draft would be sent to prime minister for approval for introducing system of fines and imprisonments for unauthorized price hike of medicines.
The statement quoted the PPMA spoke person as saying that there was no valid basis for the Health Services ministry to consider any regime of penalizing the Pharma industry for any “Illegal” hike in prices of medicines when the industry could not sustain manufacturing cost of some of basic and essential drugs needed in the market. The increase in prices of raw material in international market simply makes local manufacturing of some of the important medicines a sheer non-viable option.
Firstly there was no case of unjust or unauthorized hike in prices of medicines by Pakistani Pharma companies in recent past as if any price increase did occur, it happened after a gap of almost 15 years while fully abiding by the new pricing mechanism of the govt, said the spoke person.
He said that any increase made in prices of medicines was fully in line with recent price policy of the govt allowing increase in the drugs’ prices on across the board basis for up to 50 per cent of CPI (Consumer Price Index) that was 2.86 when the policy was envisaged.
He said that introduction of the regime of punishments and penalties for those in Pharma sector would utterly jeopardize continuity of public and private health care systems of the country with sudden stopping of local production of vital medicines having reasonable and affordable retail costs.
The PPMA spoke person said that Pharma industry of Pakistan had already sent its SOS call to the relevant quarters to conserve its very existence and functioning in the country owing to highly unjust pricing regime and business unfriendly policies maintained by the government and state regulator for the medicines’ sector.
He said that govt in case went ahead with its proposed plan of introducing punishment system would further augment its anti-Pharma regime as not just the manufacturers, but stockists, distributors, and retailers in Pharma sector would have to face imprisonment and fines if they chose to remain in the business.
He said that those at the helm of affairs in the ministry while proposing penalty up to Rs 100 million and jail term of three years for manufacturers of medicines had no care, caution, and consideration in their mind for very survival of the national Pharma industry, which is otherwise part of an essential nationwide public service.
He said that patients in the country would be ultimate sufferers if the govt further persisted with its irrational price control policy as locally manufactured medicines with affordable rates used for treating common diseases would no longer be available in the market. “Already the situation has become serious as some 70 to 80 medicines have become virtually vanished from the market as their indigenous manufacturing is no longer a viable production option for the local pharmaceutical industry,” he said.
The medicines no longer available in the market are prescribed for treating Epilepsy, Thyroid disease, and for some neurological disorders, he said. The PPMA spoke person said that it was high time the Section-12 of Drugs’ Act-1976 should be undone or least be amended not only for the very survival and continuity of the local pharmaceutical industry but also for safeguarding basic interests of the ailing citizenry.
He suggested that price controlling powers of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) should be confined only to Model List of Essential Medicines’ of World Health Organization that is globally accepted as the list contained all life saving and other emergency medicines essentially needed by hospitals. Almost nowhere in the world including in most advanced and regional countries, the State has blanket control over prices of all medicines as being the case in Pakistan, he said.
The PPMA spoke person said that owing to irrational policies of the govt the national Pharma industry, which had been growing at the rate of 18 percent in 2014 its growth, had decreased to 13 per cent in 2015. Likewise, exports of the Pharma industry stood at 250 million US Dollars on annual basis in 2012, which had decreased to the alarming extent of 160 million US Dollars in 2015.
For more information, contact:
Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA)
Office No. 03, 2nd Floor, Al- Babar Centre, F-8, Markaz,
Phone: (051) 2850300 – 2818251
Fax: (051) 2818252