ISLAMABAD- In a bid to keep check on drug manufacturing pharmaceutical companies, the incumbent government is devising a policy to rationalise the prices of drugs.“The federal government is working to come up with a policy to keep check on prices of drugs. A policy to rationalise drug price is under consideration of the policy board of drug regulatory authority of Pakistan, ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination,” Saira Afzal Tarar, federal minister for national health, regulations and coordination, told the upper House of the Parliament on Tuesday. She was responding to a question asked by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq regarding steps being taken by the government to reduce prices of medicines in the country.Elaborating her standpoint, Tarar said during the last two years, 105 cases of unauthorised price increase were noticed by the DRAP. Upon taking action by the DRAP, 17 companies filed writ petitions/suits in different courts and managed to obtain stay orders. On 17th September, 2013, the DRAP filed an application in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to pass appropriated orders for resolving /disposal of petitions /suits filed by pharmaceutical companies in Sindh High Court, Karachi, Lahore High Court, Lahore, and Civil Judge Lahore and the court on 19th September, 2013 issued notices to pharmaceutical companies. She further told the house that DRAP application again came up on 20th March 2014 for hearing and the court directed DRAP to file a comprehensive report so that a final and comprehensive order be passed by the apex court. Accordingly, a comprehensive report was filed on 12.04.2014 in the Supreme Court and next date of hearing is fixed on 16.04.2014.The DRAP also filed 25 civil miscellaneous applications (CMAs) in the Sindh High Court, Karachi, Lahore High Court, Lahore and Civil Judge Lahore to vacate stay orders issued by the said courts in matters of unilateral price increase on medicines by pharmaceutical companies.“Under Section 6 of the Drugs Act, 1976, the storage and sale of drugs is regulated by the provincial governments, therefore, DRAP has advised the provincial health authorities to take action under the law against the companies who increase prices of drugs more than approved prices,” Tarar told the Senate.Meanwhile, the house was told that the federal government was speedily working to connect port city of Gwadar with rest of country by three major highways including Makran Coastal Highway, Gwadar-Ratodero Road (M-8) and N-85.Earlier, as the Senate session started, the senators complained to the chairman for incomplete answers to their questions. Even the members including Senator Muhammad Talha and Senator Ahmed Hassan threatened to boycott the proceedings of the house. However, Deputy Chairman Senate Qadir Baloch defused the tension and directed the relevant minister to come up with complete answers.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-May-2014 here.