Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court yesterday issued notices to secretary Ministry of Health Regulation & Services and chairman Drug Regulatory Authority in a petition against increase in the prices of medicines/drugs by pharmaceutical companies. A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and directed the respondents to submit their reply within a fortnight.

In this matter, petitioner Waheed Mehmood moved the court through his counsel Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry Advocate and nominated Federal Secretary Ministry of Health Regulation & Services, Chairman Drug Regulatory Authority, director pricing of medicines and Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) as respondents.

The counsel Yasir Chaudhry contended in the petition that he is senior citizen and an aggrieved person from the recent hike in the prices of life saving drugs/medicines by the pharmaceutical companies and criminal silence of the regulatory authorities. He argued that the respondents seem failed to regulate the medicine/drug and healthcare sector.

The counsel stated in the petition that the petitioner also filed an application to the ministry of Health Regulation & Services and chairman drug regulatory authority on February 10, 2016 and tried to draw their attention towards the hike in medicines’ prices but they did nothing in this regard except verbal claims.

The petitioner adopted that the availability and access to cheaper lifesaving drugs/medicines is a fundamental right of every citizen under Article 9 of the Constitution.   Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct the respondents to explain what practical steps they have taken so far to check and control the excessive increase in the prices of lifesaving drugs/medicines. Further what penal action so far they have taken against the pharmaceutical companies that are involved in illegal action of price increase.

He also requested the court to direct the respondents to issue price mechanism with respect to the prices of drugs/medicine in order to enhance the scope of DRA Act 2012.