ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to cease increasing drug prices before a regular chief executive officer (CEO) is appointed at its helm.
The directive was made as the apex court resumed hearing of a suo motu case regarding increase in medicine prices.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar expressed frustration at failure of the authority to appoint a regular CEO.
“Why has a [regular] chief executive officer not been appointed [by DRAP] despite the court’s order?” he inquired.
The legal representative of drug-makers, Makhdoom Ali Khan, answered that the hike in price was agreed upon by the federal government and the drug makers in response to a rise in dollar rates.
However, he added that until an official notification over the matter is not issued, drug prices will not be increased.
Deputy attorney general informed the court that the authority will forward its recommendations to the cabinet in the coming week and a notification regarding prices would be issued after the cabinet reaches a decision on the matter.
At this, Justice Ijazul-Ahsan remarked that until the notification is issued, the prices of drugs would remain the same.
The heath secretary was then directed to develop a summary regarding the appointment of a CEO at DRAP within two days. Furthermore, the court directed DRAP to finalise its decision on the summary within 15 days.
Additional Director Dr Sheikh Akhtar Hussain was appointed as the interim CEO of DRAP in February this year.