22 pharmaceutical companies get notices over high medicine prices
By Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday issued notices to 22 pharmaceutical companies for selling drugs on exorbitant prices and against the rates fixed by the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA).
A two-member bench of the court, headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, heard the case pertaining to increase in price of different drugs by 22 pharmaceutical companies.
The court issued notices after Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti provided a list of 22 companies, which have taken stay orders from different high courts against the prices fixed by DRA.
The DAG told the court that although DRA had fixed prices of drugs, these pharmaceutical companies were selling drugs on increased rates.
According to the list, M/s Highnoon Laboratories, Lahore topped the list. After getting a restraining order from the Lahore High Court on December 14, 2012, it is selling different drugs at increased prices against the rates fixed by DRA.
For example, a drug namely Budevair 400 Rotacap is being sold by the company for Rs 1,040, which is 471 percent more than the price fixed by DRA (Rs 182).
The company is also selling another drug Budevair 200 Rotacap for Rs 755 with 421 percent increase, against the price of Rs 145 fixed by DRA.
Similarly, it is selling Kestin Flash 10mg tablet for Rs415, while DRA has fixed its price at Rs 125.
Another company, M/s Epla Laboratories, Karachi which had also got a stay order from the Sindh High Court on August 13, 2012, is selling drugs at increased rates.
They include Bacimix Powder for Rs 66.56 with 233 percent increase against the price of Rs 20 fixed by DRA. Bacimix Ointment (15gm) for Rs 114.46 with 129 percent increase against the price of Rs 50 fixed by DRA.
Another company M/s Pharmatec Pakistan, Karachi which also got restraining order from the Sindh High Court on April 20, 2012 is selling Fastum Gel (30mg) at an increased price of Rs 257 against Rs 115 fixed by DRA.
Similarly, M/s W Woodward, Karachi, after getting a restraining order from the Lahore High Court on July 28, 2011, is selling Gripe Water for Rs 55 with a 38 percent increase, against Rs 40 fixed by DRA.
M/s Roche Pakistan Ltd, Karachi got a restraining order from the Sindh High Court on July 14, 2012. It is selling a drug, namely Pegasys, for Rs13,000 – 100 percent increase against the price of Rs 6,500 fixed by DRA.