PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday halted the implementation of 15 per cent increase in medicine prices.
The two-member PHC bench, comprising Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali, issued a stay order as it heard a petition challenging the price hike on the basis that it was against spirit of Articles 9 and 14 of the Constitution.
On January 11, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) released a notification wherein the increase in prices of medicines, including life-saving drugs, was imposed.
During the proceedings, petitioner’s counsel Noor Alam Khan accused the government of relinquishing its responsibility towards citizens. “The government is further burdening the masses instead of providing relief to them,” he said.
Consequently, the bench ordered a stay on the implementation of the DRAP notification.
Issuing notices to relevant federal government officials and other authorities concerned, the court adjourned the hearing of the case until February 3.
On January 11, DRAP announced a price hike of 9-15 per cent across the country.
According to the notification, the revised retail prices of the medicines will be printed on the label.
Drug companies had been demanding an increase in the prices of medicines for some time. The companies had also threatened to stop manufacturing drugs.
DRAP, accepting the drug manufacturers’ demands, issued a notification for the increase in medicine prices.
According to reports, the price hike would impact the rate of some 24,000 medicines, including the life-savings drugs such as medicines for heart ailments, brain diseases, cancer, children’s diseases and post-surgical drugs etc.