KARACHI – Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has warned the government not to consider any plan to introduce the system of fines and punishments for medicines’ companies on account of “unauthorized price increase” as this would simply lead to the closure of pharma industry.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, the PPMA said: “there was no point in penalising the pharmaceutical industry for any irrational or illegal price increase of medicines when the industry is struggling to production activities owing to sheer hostile environment.”
The PPMA also took strong exception to the recent presentation made by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to the Senate Standing Committee on Health whereby a draft would be sent to prime minister for approval for introducing a system of fines and imprisonments for unauthorized price hike of medicines.
“There is no case of unjust or unauthorised increase in prices of medicines in recent past,” the PPMA said, adding that if any price increase took place, it took place after a gap of almost 15 years and that too in line with new pricing mechanism of the government.
The increase made in prices of medicines was fully in line with recent pricing policy of the government allowing increase in drugs’ prices on across the board basis for up to 50per cent of Consumer Price Index (CPI) that was 2.86 when the policy was envisaged, the statement added.
Deploring that those at the helm of affairs in the ministry while imposing penalty up to Rs100 million and jail term of three years for drugs’ manufacturers did not have any consideration for the survival of the pharma industry, the PPMA said that introduction of punishments and penalties for those in pharma sector would utterly jeopardize continuity of public and private healthcare systems of the country with the sudden stoppage of local production of vital medicines having reasonable and affordable retail costs.
The PPMA statement said that the country’s pharma industry 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.
“In case the government went ahead with its proposed plan of introducing punishment system will further augment its anti-pharma regime as not just the manufacturers, but stockists, distributors, and retailers in the sector will have to face imprisonment and fines if they chose to remain in the business,” the PPMA statement concluded.