ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Vice President Sherry Rehman yesterday said the government was putting the lives of the citizens at risk by increasing the medicine prices.

Condemning the government’s notification which allows rise in prices of 94 life-saving drugs, the PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate said, “Other countries are making life-saving drugs free for their citizens while our government is busy playing politics over such crucial matters”.

She added: “Drugs whose prices have been allowed to increase include medicines such as furosemide injections for emergency use in high blood pressure; acetazolamide tablets for glaucoma; hydralazine tablets for lowering blood pressure and carbamazepine tablets and suspension for epilepsy. Atropine sulphate injection used in emergencies; magnesium sulphate used to treat seizures due to preeclampsia during pregnancy; hydroxyurea, daunorubicin, bleomycin –all used in the treatment of cancer; nitroglycerin and glyceryl trinitrate used as emergency heart medicines and anti-rabies vaccine are also among the medicines”.

 

 

The constant increase in price, she said, had forced patients to reduce drug dosage or discontinue treatment. “The government has left them with no choice but to compromise their health,” she added.

Senator Rehman said the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan’s lack of interest in monitoring drug prices was shocking. 

“What exactly is it doing? It seems that there is no check and balance by the government. They are only busy in keeping a check on the opposition and curbing our voices,” she said in a statement.

She said the federal government was setting new records of incompetence and inflation. Looking at their past record, In June, 2020 they amended the Drug Pricing Policy 2018, allowing pharmaceutical companies to increase prices of medicines up to 10%. 

“In 2019, the government had allowed the pharmaceutical companies to increase the prices of 45,000 medicines up to 15%. The prices of 463 hardship medicines were increased by 200% - the highest increase in the last 40 years,” she added.

The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led government, she said, was appeasing the mafias by increasing prices of essential products. “The PM once used to criticize previous governments for increasing prices of essential times. So, what is he doing right now?” she questioned.

Senator Sherry Rehman said the federal government’s only performance has been taking from the people the facilities provided to them. 

“Instead of providing relief to people during this pandemic, government has gone ahead and increased the prices of 94 lifesaving medicines. The government should stop appeasing the mafias by increasing prices of essential products and instead focus on running the country which they seem to have forgotten in their obsession with the opposition witch hunt,” she said.

Meanwhile yesterday, the PPP demanded the resignation of President Arif Alvi after the reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa was dismissed as “illegal” by the Supreme Court.

Speaking at a news conference here, flanked by PPP stalwart Sherry Rehman and other party leaders including Maula Bakhsh Chandio and Sassi Palijo, Senator Raza Rabbani said that the purpose in convening a briefing is to discuss that state institutions are being made increasingly controversial. 

“There is a total breakdown of systems in the country. Inflation continues to rise and there is no one ready to answer for this. This has also invariable led to a rise in terrorism-related incidents,” he lamented.

He said that “sensitive institutions were first targeted in terror attacks and now civilian institutions are being targeted”.

Rabbani said that no one is seen addressing these issues. “The government is not taking anyone into confidence over these matters and no session of the National Security Council has been called. It seems that institutions are being crippled.”

The PPP leader further said that the country was moving towards “fascism” and the style of governance in the country suggests that it is moving towards a “one unit” system. 

Rabbani said the president filed references against two judges and later the decisions were disregarded by the top court, adding that “the references were so erroneous that it was proved that they were filed maliciously.”