The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet Friday gave in to the longstanding demand of pharma firms to allow an increase in the prices of medicines.
The meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, considered the summary of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on the increase in maximum retail prices of drugs based on the recommendations of the Policy Board of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) in the wake of the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee and inflation.
To ensure the continuous availability of drugs in the market, the meeting allowed as a one-time dispensation and allowed manufacturers and importers to increase their existing maximum retail prices (MRPs) of essential drugs equal to a 70 percent increase in CPI (with a cap of 14 percent) and MRPs of all other drugs and lower priced drugs an increase up to 70 percent increase in CPI (with a cap of 20 percent) on the basis of average CPI for the current fiscal.
The ECC approved the increase with the condition that it should be considered an annual increase for the financial year 2023-24 and no increase under this category will be granted in the next financial year.
The ECC further advised the Policy Board to review the situation after three months and make its recommendations to the federal government regarding a decrease in prices if the local currency appreciates.