Islamabad - The consumer of an anticancer drug is compelled to pay nearly five times the import price of the medicine due to ineffectiveness of Drug Regularity Authority Pakistan (DRAP), a Federal Inspector of Drug (FID) alleged on Tuesday.

FID at Karachi Obaid Ali and DRAP are at loggerheads over the import price of the anticancer medicine and its consumer price.

A letter written by FID Karachi said that the cancer patients are compelled to buy Temoside (temozolomide) 100mg Capsules at Rs31000 while its import price is Rs7225 (USD 58.57).

DRAP’s own FID has questioned the mechanism and Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the medicine in the country, while DRAP’s directorate for costing and pricing has summoned the official to prove his claims.

The drug inspector alleged that the MRP mentioned on DRAP’s Registration letter and the price on a commercial invoice reveals the weakness of procedures monitoring and approving the drug price and calls for serious intervention.

He also alleged that the “silence of the respective directorate on such disparities share the responsibility of maintaining this unreasonable difference between import value and the MRP”.

According to the letter, the loophole in the monitoring of the price is benefiting the monopoly of the importers and the patients are paying a heavy price for it.

“The list of products indicating their approved MRP is neither published on the DRAP website nor readily available in DRAP offices for reference,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, the FID also said that he has no access to the commercial invoices; import records and is unaware of the actual MRP of the registered products.

He said that a simple strategy to qualify and certify pharmacy importers to secure supply of cost effective quality drugs should be introduced with safety and regularity controls to avoid potential threat to public health from counterfeit, adulterated and diverted medicines.

Meanwhile, DRAP has issued a letter to the FID to present the evidence of the complaint regarding Temoside Capsules 100 mg before the Drugs Pricing Committee (DPC).

The letter said that “Director (Costing & pricing), DRAP, Islamabad has directed that the matter be placed before drugs Pricing Committee (DPC), in its forthcoming meeting.  You are therefore requested to forward the complaint along with any evidence to this office within 5 days so that the matter is decided according to law. Further, in future you are requested that such complaints be forwarded to this office for early disposal by the Drug Pricing Committee”.

The FID earlier had initiated an inquiry on the price difference of the same drug in India and Pakistan.

The letter issued to the DRAP said that “anti-cancer drug (generic version) manufactured by Cipla, India is registered in your name here in Pakistan. This office has initiated an inquiry on the complaint that the MRP of your product is PKR31000 whereas patients buy the same medicine of the same manufacturer (Cipla, India) between PKR3000 to 5000.