Dr. Zafar Mirza—the Special Assistant to the PM has made the announcement on the 14th of October that a national medicine policy would soon be introduced next month for addressing the issues regarding the availability of medicines, quality, pricing, and procurement.
The federal health minister provided an explanation about what the policy would be focusing on and how it would be put into effect throughout the nation.
He said that they did not have any national medicine policy before. He further added that the World Health Organisation proposes that all its member states should have a comprehensive policy for focusing on medicines and their respective prices, distribution, quality, export, and manufacturing.
Dr. Mirza was of the opinion that the policy would also be covering access to the life-saving medicines and their regulation. Pharma companies and the medical professionals had also agreed to work with the government on this.
While responding to a question on the penalty for selling drugs at higher rates than their market price, he said that Pakistan has a medicine pricing policy but it was never implemented.
He added that if a manufacturer is selling medicines at a higher price than the defined fixed rates that it is absolutely unlawful. The assistant said that they have noticed that some medicinal stores and pharmacies surge the prices on their own when there is a shortage of medicine.
He said that they have attained information from various cities throughout the province of Punjab that a common household drug was being sold at 4 times higher price than its original cost. He added that action would be taken soon. Sooner a hotline would be established where the consumers could launch complains about overpricing, as informed by Dr. Mirza.
He remarked that in the coming days they would be placing a complete ban on the prescription of antibiotics in the federal capital.
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