The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has given a one-week deadline to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to adopt due emergency measures for the very survival of the drug industry as otherwise it would be left with no option but to take extreme measures including price adjustments on its own to ensure availability of essential medicines in the country.
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The warning to this effect was given by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) leaders while addressing an emergency press conference here on Thursday The PPMA leaders said that the DRAP, in the past few months, completely failed to discharge its obligations concerning the availability of essential medicines in the market at reasonable rates.
“Pakistan is going through the biggest health challenge after the pandemic in the form of massive outbreak of lethal infectious diseases among the communities displaced due to floods as availability of the essential medicines has become extremely crucial in these testing times more than at any occasion in the past,” said the outgoing PPMA Chairman Qazi Mansoor Dilawar.
He said the medicine producers could not opt for halting their production as an option to agitate in the current dire circumstances as the PPMA wanted the availability of the essential medicines in the market at affordable prices.
He said the DRAP was under a strict obligation to immediately convene the meeting of its policy board to adopt emergency measures for ensuring that the drug industry continued with its production without any interruption in the best interest of the patients.
“The DRAP is under the lawful obligation as per the Drug Act-1976 that it should ensure availability of safe, efficacious, and potent drugs in the market at such reasonable rates that are equally acceptable to the consumers and the industry,” said Dilawar. He said it was highly lamentable that DRAP, in the past few months, had completely failed to discharge its responsibilities in this regard.
He also mentioned that the drug pricing policy of 2018 had also empowered the DRAP to adopt extraordinary steps to overcome unusual economic circumstances in the country for ensuring the availability of essential medicines in the market.
“These extraordinary circumstances have been persisting for our industry for past many months due to massive devaluation of rupees and phenomenal increase in the cost of producing medicines,” he said.
Chairman PPMA also said the PPMA had approached the DRAP in April 2022 to get convened the meeting of its policy board. “The DRAP and higher government authorities didn’t pay any attention to our emergency appeal to this effect despite that numerous letters, notices, and reminders were duly sent by us,” he said.
“As the last resort we moved the Islamabad High Court against the government’s indifference towards our pressing issues as the honorable court in the first hearing of the case gave 15 days to the DRAP to consider our extraordinary circumstances for adopting the corrective measures,” he said.
Dilawar said that over one-and-half months had passed since the direction of the court and the DRAP is yet to take any action to resolve PPMA’s problems. “The media has already reported that around 100 essential medicines are no more available in the market as we don’t want that this situation should exacerbate any further to safeguard the interests of the patients in the country,” he said.
He said that if the DRAP failed to take any action within the one-week deadline then the medicine producers would be compelled to go to any length to take certain extraordinary measures to ensure the availability of medicines in the market. “These measures could include price adjustments and moving the apex judiciary for initiation of the contempt proceedings against the DRAP for its failure to honor the earlier directions of the court in this regard,” he concluded