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ECC May Allow Surges in Prices of 124 Medicines, Including Panadol


ISLAMABAD: At its meeting   the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) may approve price increases for 124 medications, including Paracetamol syrup and fever pills.

It might also make it possible to lower the prices of 20 drugs and set the maximum retail price (MRP) for 18 new drugs.

The meeting of the ECC, which will take place in the Cabinet Room of the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, will be presided over by Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar, according to a document that Dawn has access to.

According to the document, an increase in paracetamol’s MRP will also be taken into account. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, there has been a shortage of medicine, and the situation got even worse last year due to floods.

Even though the government increased the cost of medicines last year, there is still a shortage.

Furthermore, in accordance with the recommendations made by the Drug Pricing Committee (DPC) at its 53rd meeting, an increase in the MRP of 119 drugs in the hardship category will be sought approval from the ECC. In a similar vein, approval will be sought for increasing the prices of four additional drugs that fall into the same category. At its 52nd meeting, the Drug Pricing Committee had suggested doing so.

Companies that claim it is impossible for them to produce medicines within MRP or in other wards claim that the cost of manufacturing has increased relative to the cost of MRP fall under the hardship category.

The document also demonstrated that the ECC will also fix the MRP of 18 new drugs, as the Drug Pricing Committee had recommended at its 53rd meeting on December 29 of last year.

The pricing committee’s recommendation to lower the MRP of 20 drugs is another agenda item.

Medicines for the treatment of typhoid, malaria, depression, fever, kidney diseases, women’s infertility, tuberculosis, ulcer, etc., according to a Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) official who requested anonymity, had a price increase recommendation.

Due to the rupee’s devaluation, some active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) have become more expensive. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) makes every effort to control prices. However, the price increase case is thoroughly examined whenever a company applies for a price increase under the hardship category,” he stated.

While speaking with Dawn, NHS spokesperson Sajid Shah stated that all price increase cases were old and that it had been decided to first send them to the ECC and, if approved, to the Federal Cabinet.