Prices have substantially increased since 1995. We all feel that something should be done to check the prices. There is a lot of anger, resentment and discontentment over the rising prices, and most people seem to think that the government has been totally ineffective in checking the prices. However, the controlling price rise is not an easy task, it require special product, by product and industry, by industry analyzes. Though the government claims to be doing whatever it can, the situation is now under check. The middle class is the worst affected by the price hike.
The industry and the trade or responsible to a good extent for not playing fare with the public. The government, business men and the public should collectively tackle the problem, back in theory and practice. New price lists put up by for pharmaceutical firms show an average increase of over 32%, including a 5% GST, in the prices of five controlled medicines. The hike comes in the wake of report last month that drug companies may be allowed a raise of 12% in the prices of decontrolled medicines and 6% for controlled or essential category of drugs.
The latest increase, which came into effect from September 96, is said to have been with the approval of the health ministry allowing the pharmaceutical can arms another round of price adjustments in both controlled and decontrolled categories that seems disproportionately high. This is probably the third increase in the last 8 months which has made drug prices in Pakistan among the highest in the region. Admittedly, budgetary measures which include, beside the GST, additional import duty of 5% on pharmaceutical raw material and 10% customs duty and 5% sales tax an import of finished products, provided a plausible ground for the manufactures and trades to wound pressure for upward revision offices.
The slide in the value of the rupee vis-à-vis the US dollar also affected prices because most raw materials and finished products are imported. It is, however the arbitrary and disproportionate increase that are usually made on the plea of cost inflation which remain the bane of the pharmaceutical sector. And over and our again the Government has proved virtually helpless in face of unauthorized and at times excessive increase which have placed a heavy burden on the average consumer.
Written By: Aafia Hira