Islamabad: On directions of the Prime Minister, Minister for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar has taken strict notice of reports of unilateral and illegal price hike by certain pharmaceutical companies.

In an emergency meeting called on Monday, the Minister directed that stern action be taken against violators of the Government’s pricing regime.

“There will be zero tolerance against those deceiving the Government and hurting public interest” said the Minister.

The Minister for NHSR&C said “some companies after resorting illegal price hike seek restraining orders from the court to avoid action by DRAP”.

She said that 18 drug companies had enhanced the prices illegally in the year 2012-2013 and DRAP took legal action against them. The companies sought for the stay order which was granted by the Sindh High Court. DRAP is making efforts vigorously in the Supreme Court to get the stay order vacated.

On September 17, 2013, the DRAP filed an application in the Supreme Court against all companies who have increased prices without approval of the Federal Government and after obtaining stay orders from various courts, mostly from the Sindh High Court, Karachi.

The Supreme Court in hearing of the case on March 20, 2014, fixed case of un-authorized price increase by the pharmaceutical companies for 3rd week of April, 2014 and directed DRAP to submit a comprehensive report on the matter. The court further directed to issue notices to all such companies.

The Minister has constituted a three member committee headed by Chief Executive Officer of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to monitor the market and report any violation of the pricing regime.

“Strict action under the law will be taken against companies found violating the law and overpricing”, a spokesmen of Ministry of NHSR&C informed.

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