ISLAMABAD-Former federal minister for National Health Services Aamer Mehmood Kiyani has denied his involvement in medicines’ price hike and allegedly benefiting the pharmaceutical companies. However, his critics say that the minister failed to take result-oriented steps to bring down the prices, The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister during the previous week reshuffled his cabinet and removed Aamer Kiyani from the cabinet without offering any new portfolio. Aamer Kiyani was stripped off the post of federal minister after 2 major scandals linked with Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan surfaced and he remained unsuccessful in defending his ministry’s position.

Where the former minister’s performance was applauded for vacating the health department’s lands in the city and starting long-delayed projects, complex DRAP mechanism in his 8-month tenure remained a challenge for him which continuously overshadowed rest of his work.

But his critics believe that the former minister was not with clean hands; he facilitated and protected elements in DRAP involved in wrong doings with the connivance of pharmaceutical companies.

President Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum Noor Mehar said that the former minister took only cosmetic steps to bring down the medicines prices in given 72 hours.

He said that while Aamer Kiyani publicly defended former CEO DRAP Sheikh Akhtar Hussain despite the Higher Education Commission had refused recognising his PhD degree. “His actions were just an eye wash, while parallel he was cutting ribbon of a pharmaceutical company,” he said. Mehar who also lodged a complaint in National Accountability Bureau against financial embezzlements in DRAP alleged that pharmaceutical companies earned above Rs400 billion due to price hike since December 2018.

“The former minister despite of having clear directions by PM even didn’t issue a single official order or SRO to pharmaceutical companies to stop selling medicines on hiked rates, or reversing the previous order of increased prices” he said.

Noor Mehar said that instead to taking measures to control the medicine prices on retailers’ shops, the minister and his team was confiscating the stock at companies.

“They were going in wrong direction and deliberately misleading the government,” he alleged.

He said that DPAR had increase medicines prices in 2017 by 2.14 percent while the new health ministry under the leadership of Aamer Kiyani approved 9 to 15 percent increase in prices in January, despite the raw material price had come down in international market.

He said that there are 70,000 molecules and DRAP has registered record of only 8,000 medicines, while it has no mechanism of price checking of companies.

Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association in its statement had stated that rupee devaluation against dollar had made it difficult to purchase raw material on previous prices.

It said that prices of 464 medicines were increased under hardship cases following December 31 SRO and prices of 150 medicines in these were increased 50 percent due to increased prices of raw material and devaluation of rupee.

Former minister for NHS Aamer Mehmood Kiyani talking to The Nation said that he accepted the PM’s decision and took responsibility for the price hike but denied any involvement in wrong doings.

He said that the entire pharmaceutical industry was not worth of Rs400 billion. He said that if prices of 465 medicines were increased, 395 were decreased also.

He said former CEO DRAP was not his appointment, but it was done following the directions of Supreme Court (SC) and was removed in one month after Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision on his degree.

“It is easy to discuss me but nobody speaks upon SC,” he remarked.