ANI Photo | Pakistan approves 20 pc increase in price of general medicines

Pakistan on Friday approved a rise of up to 20 per cent in retail prices of general medicines and 14 per cent for essential ones. This invited immediate criticism from drug manufacturers who said the increases were too small, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The Pakistan government’s decision followed a months-long stand-off with importers and manufacturers, whose associations have been demanding an across-the-board 39 per cent rise, warning that the industry could otherwise collapse.
Pakistan’s annual inflation rate hit 35 per cent in March, fuelled by a depreciating currency, a rollback in subsidies and the imposition of higher tariffs to secure a bailout package of USD 1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund. Food inflation has soared to 47 per cent, according to The Express Tribune.

But the government had pushed back against the demands for higher medicine prices, fearing such a move would lose it support months before national general elections.
The finance ministry said medicine prices could be reviewed again after three months if the Pakistani rupee appreciated, adding that “no increase under this category” would be granted in the next financial year, The Express Tribune reported.
The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PPMA) criticised the increase, which it said was way lower than it had expected.
The media recently reported that as Pakistan continues to grapple with economic challenges due to a shortage of foreign exchange reserves, citizens find it tough to buy everyday essentials like flour, oil and gas.
Despite daily necessities such as gas, electricity, petrol and flour getting more and more out of reach or prohibitively expensive for the average person to acquire, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government is hardly paying heed to the plight of the people, Pakistan’s vernacular media reported. (ANI)

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