Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday while expressing displeasure over shortage of Panadol tablets from the market and directed the officials to ensure availability of the medicine within three weeks.
Chief Justice PHC Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan at the outset of the hearing of the case regarding hike in medicine prices, asked the health department officials about Panadol shortage.
He said that this medicine was daily use in the households which was not available now.
Justice Rashid said that they have informed that raw material for the medicine was imported, which was leading to increase in prices.
He said that they were concerned over what the authorities were doing. Justice Rashid that medicine prices have increased so much that they were now out of people reach.
He directed the officials to ensure the availability of Panadol in three weeks and in case of failure to do so he will summon the secretary heath and other officials.
Malik Ajmal Advocate, the counsel for petitioner, said that life saving drugs have gone up by 200 to 300 per cent over past few months.
On the other hand, government has also exempted medicinal raw material from taxes. Health department and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) of Pakistan told the court that the raw material for medicine was tax free.
Mr Ajmal said that court also directed the health officials to avoid delay in manufacturing of medicine. Besides, the medicine prices are likely to come down due to the exemption of raw material from tax.
He said that the court also directed the officials’ tax exemption on import of raw material must not be one-time affair, rather, it should continue.
What has led to medicine price hike
Abid Siddiqui, general secretary Karachi Medicine Market Peshawar said that the raw material was imported and the company making the Panadol was not importing the material due to price hike.
He said that when they approached the company, it said that raw material price has gone up to three percent while government refused to increase medicine price.
Mr Siddiqi said that the company was of the view that they were incurring losses worth Rs 3.6 million per month and unless government increases the prices they will not import raw material.
However, he said that the raw material could be manufactured in Pakistan; however, it has never been tried. Besides, he said that medicine prices were low in China and India as they were manufacturing the raw material.
“Unless Pakistan starts manufacturing raw material for medicine, the market will not stabilize,” he said.