Pakistan's new drug pricing policy to cut some costs by one-third

SINGAPORE--Pakistan's minister in charge of drug pricing confirmed at a news conference a new policy would reduce the costs of some drugs by as much as 30%, but said no changes would become effective before June 30, 2016.

Saira Tarar

Saira Tarar, minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, said the new policy would limit annual price increases for scheduled drugs to no more than 50% of the consumer price index, up to a limit of 4%.

Non-scheduled drugs would be limited to 70 percent of CPI, with a cap of 6%, she said. Scheduled drugs would be those considered essential for treating cancer, tuberculosis and others among the nation's most serious diseases.

She explained that the higher price reductions, such as 30%, would be phased in at the rate of no more than 10% a year if the drugs cost more in India and Bangladesh, the two benchmark countries for Pakistan's prices.

If the drug in India were not available in those two countries, Tarar said the price would be set at the lowest wholesale in the developed countries of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

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