ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of National Health Services on Sunday said the government had not approved any increase in price of essential drugs as being incorrectly reported in some media sections. According to the spokesperson of the ministry, Drug Pricing Policy 2018 granted the manufacturers with an annual right to automatically increase prices by 7 percent and 10 percent without government’s right to intervene.  Drug Pricing Policy 2018 has been revised by the federal government to bring it in line with Drug Act 1976 and to remove legal lacunae, he added. In doing so, the government has created a step-in clause in Drug Pricing Policy whereby the government can exclude any category of drugs from annual increase of price. He said Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has recently notified the amendments made by the government to Drug Pricing Policy 2018.  All this was done in the backdrop of assurance given by pharmaceutical industry that it will not apply for annual raise of drug prices at least till September 2020.  The industry has gone back on its words and about one hundred drug companies have applied for annual increase in prices.  The government has the right to step in to freeze any or all drug prices to safeguard public interest in view of the COVID situation, the spokesman said.