ISLAMABAD-Pharmaceutical companies in a quiet but sharp move dodged the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and increased medicines’ prices up to 100 percent in violation of the official order, The Nation learned on Monday.

The DRAP, working under ministry of National Health Services, had allowed pharmaceutical companies in January to increase the prices of the medicine from 9 to 15 percent.

However, the companies taking the benefit of weak price checking mechanism have increased the prices of several products up to 100 percent.

The prices of medicine including those of blood pressure, diabetes, TB and cardiac diseases have been also increased quietly by the companies without any official approval by the government.

According to the details of prices, the companies have increased the prices of around 15 medicines of common and special use.

Talking to The Nation, a retailer Kamran said that companies have increased prices of majority of drugs, while only few have restrained themselves from increasing the prices.

“Prices of majority medicines have suddenly shot up, which is beyond any reason, as officially, only 9-15 percent increase in prices was notified,” he said.

Kamran added that prices of the medicines including those for blood pressure, diabetes, stomach and cardiac problems have been increased up to 100 percent.

He said that companies increased the prices by themselves as there is no proper check and balance to control the prices.

He added that a common man was suffering due to price hike of medicines.

Meanwhile, President Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum Noor Mehar while talking to The Nation said that the companies have increased the prices allegedly with the connivance of the DRAP officials.

He claimed that around 50 percent registered companies have taken the nod of the DRAP, while rest of the companies including local and multinational even have not informed the authorities about increase in the prices.

He said that DRAP had failed in controlling price of the medicines in the market as it did not have any proper monitoring system, while the DRAP did not have any data of the registered medicine as well.

He said that prices of some of the medicines have also increased above 100 percent, while drug inspectors have failed to make the companies comply with the original prices of the medicines.

Talking to The Nation, Director Pricing DRAP Amanullah said that only 4 cases of illegal increase of price had been detected by the DRAP and legal proceedings against the companies had been initiated.

He said that the companies had not increased the prices of diabetes medicines voluntarily, while now they had increased the prices according to the official order. He said that the companies had provision of voluntarily reducing the prices of medicines.

The Director Pricing also said that the price of anti-septic product was increased as the company was in court with the claim that it did not fall in the category of drugs.

He added that around 70,000 medicines are registered with the DRAP and it has a system of controlling the prices.

He said that despite the fact that sale of drugs is a provincial subject; drug inspectors were directed to monitor the prices.

He said that some of the elements have ‘twisted’ the issue that price of every medicine has increased which in factually incorrect.