Pharmaceutical companies in conflict with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). There is some difficulty in coming up with an effective pricing system that all stakeholders agree on. With the current pricing policy, and proposals to have average pricing (where two of the same drugs from different companies are sold at the same price, an average between their two prices), larger companies and multinational firms would go out of business. They have substantial overhead costs are supplied of quality raw material by their parent companies and cannot come down to the market average. Smaller companies with low quality control and companies that push illegal or counterfeit drugs would reap huge benefits from a price rise.

There are 564 pharmaceutical producers in the country. The 50 leading producers command 85pc of the market share, while the top 100 companies enjoy as much as 96pc of the market share. If prices are not increased, the local producers will go out of business, and rather than prices being regulated and controlled upward, we would see a massive jumps as competition would decrease.

While there is a consensus on raising drug prices, it seems that whatever they decide on, the consumer will be carrying the burden of higher prices. Regulatory authorities often forget that they are representing the people of Pakistan, and allow themselves to be inundated by lobbying corporate interests. This holds true for the energy sector, media, and telecom sector. It can only be hoped that the DRAP can make policy for the consumer, and not just for the companies. The problem has even made the State Bank take notice. The State Bank has asked for a formal drug policy, prioritisation of life saving medicines in the list of drugs awaiting registration and to curb the influx of illegal medicines. If its not sorted out we will see a severe shortage or annulment of many important drugs that become unaffordable to produce at the existing low prices.