Pricing dispute causing drug shortages in Pakistan

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Pharmaceutical manufacturers in Pakistan are warning the Pakistan Government that shortages in life-saving drugs are a result of the ongoing dispute over drug prices.

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The pharmaceutical industry has been pressing the Pakistan Government for an increase in drug prices in line with increased production costs. Drugmakers argue that the dispute is not only creating the medicines shortage, but is also discouraging future investment in the industry. The industry argues that Pakistani companies cannot export their products to industrialized countries because of the lack of international certifications and for that, they need major investment, which is difficult to make in present conditions.

Drugmakers have accused the Pakistan Government of dragging the pricing issue out for a long time and are warning that if the situation is not resolved soon the medicines shortage situation could get worse.

Pakistan’s drug manufacturers are seeking an increase of at least 18% in prices of all registered drugs whereas the government is said to have agreed to a 15% increase, with the government insisting that it has to consider both the interests of consumers and the concerns of investors.

Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that the situation is said to be providing an opportunity for counterfeit drugs to enter the market because of ‘a phenomenal rise in the demand for major drugs’.

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Source: The Express Tribune

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