KARACHI: The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has agreed to raise the maximum retail price (MRP) of paracetamol as a ‘hard case’ after different drug makers warned they would not be able to manufacture the drug at the existing price due to rising raw material costs from China, officials and industry officials said on Wednesday.
“DRAP’s Drug Pricing Committee (DPC) has recommended some relief to manufacturers of paracetamol as prices for its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) have increased in several ways in the international market,” a DRAP official told The News on condition of anonymity.
The official, however, said the summary to raise the price of over-the-counter drugs, commonly used to treat pain and reduce high fever, would only be increased after federal cabinet approval.
Various brands of paracetamol have disappeared from pharmacies amid the 5th wave of COVID-19 and are being sold at exorbitant prices as drugmakers have claimed that the prices of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of the common drug, which is imported from China, increased dramatically and now it was impossible for them to manufacture the drug at the MRP set by the DRAP.
“API prices for the manufacture of paracetamol have increased from Rs600 to Rs2600 per kg. Despite rising API prices, DRAP is insisting that drug manufacturers sell the drug at Rs 1.90 per pill while the cost of production has increased to Rs 2.30 per pill,” Qazi Muhammad Mansoor Dilawar, chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) told The News.
PPMA Chairman said they asked DRAP to increase the MRP of paracetamol to Rs3.50 per tablet but DRAP authorities only agreed to increase it up to Rs2.67 per tablet and added that to ensure the availability of the drug, the drug manufacturers had agreed to accept the MRP proposed by the regulatory authority.
“We have learned that the DRAP will forward the summary to the federal cabinet for approval of the drug price increase,” added Qazi Muhammad Mansoor Dilawar. Meanwhile, the PPMA President further said that they are under immense pressure from their members to stop production of drugs and shut down their factories due to the imposition of a $17 sales tax. % on the importation of raw materials of the drugs, claiming that the government was imposing the sales tax on the pressure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would result in an increase in the prices of drugs in Pakistan.
“The previous government had agreed to refund the 17% sales tax to drug manufacturers on the purchase of raw materials and we agreed. Now the government says it will refund the sales tax on the consumption of sales tax, which is impossible and unacceptable for drug manufacturers,” said Qazi Muhammad Mansoor and warned that the imposition of sales tax on raw materials would ultimately be passed on to the end user.
Urging the government to honor its commitments with the pharmaceutical industry, the PPMA chairman said that imposing a sales tax on the importation of raw materials would not only increase drug prices in Pakistan but would also result in the suspension of the production of several drugs locally, which also creates a shortage of important drugs in Pakistan.
“This decision would also undermine the government’s desire to increase drug exports,” he said and warned that if their demand was not met by the government, they could go on strike and stop manufacturing. medicines because this decision would make it impossible for them to do business. them in the country.