Health minister announces major steps to reduce drug prices

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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Zafar Mirza announced major steps to reduce prices of drugs increased in December 2018 and January 2019.

The Prime Minister considers health as top most priority and has tasked me to introduce reforms to provide quality health-care to the masses, a press release said.

The Prime Minister had expressed his concern over the price increase of drugs and had directed that steps be taken immediately to provide relief to the masses.

The minister who was serving at a senior position in World Health Organization said he is honored to return to Pakistan and serve the country. He expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for reposing confidence in him.

Announcing immediate steps to bring down drug prices, the minister said all those drugs whose prices had been increased by more than 75 percent will be brought down to 75 percent increase.

This will result in relief worth over one billion rupees to be passed on to the people.

He further said prices of drugs where prices have been given increase by 9 percent in January 2019 will stand withdrawn.

This will provide relief worth over 6 billion rupees which is being passed on to the consumers. In total, relief with impact of Rs. 7 billion rupees is being passed on to the people due to the reduction which the Minister termed as Ramzan gift for the people.

Those companies that did not reduce the prices of 395 drugs as per decision of the Federal Government will have to return the profits they have made from Ist January 2019 to 15th May 2019.

A toll free number is being introduced where people can report non-compliance of price reduction and strict action will be taken upon receiving such reports.

Dr. Zafar Mirza pledged to take up as a mission to transform Drug Regulatory Authority into a model regulatory authority which will be a leading regulatory body in the region.

He reiterated that there is zero tolerance for any malpractice or wrongdoing by DRAP officials and strict action will be taken under the law.

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