Rs. 60 Billion are needed to provide essential drugs free to the whole population-Zahid Saeed


Rs. 60 Billion are needed to provide
essential drugs free to the whole
population-Zahid Saeed
Federal and Provincial Governments can
contribute 50% each and earn lot of
good will which will also help improve
their image in public

ISLAMABAD: Mr. Zahid Saeed former Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) has stated that an amount of just Fifty Billion Rupees are needed to provide about two hundred all essential drugs free of cost to the entire population in Pakistan at government run healthcare facilities. He was participating in the discussion during the 5th Pakistan Pharma Summit Pre-Conference Workshop organized by PPMA here on February 18, 2020. The theme of the conference was “Mastering Innate Strengths and Acquiring New Capabilities”. The facilitator at the workshop was Prof. Zaheeruddin Babar from UK. The topic of his presentations was Understanding Global Pharmaceutical Pricing: Models, Case Studies and Examples”.

Mr. Zahid Saeed

Emphasizing the importance of availability of essential drugs at right prices, he pointed out that the total drug market was between Rs. 350-400 Billion. Of this the cost of essential drugs which includes about two hundred medicines was just Sixty Billion rupees. He suggested that let the Federal Government contribute 50% of this while the provincial governments should contribute the remaining 50% and this will ensure free availability of all essential drugs at dispensaries and secondary, tertiary care hospitals. Other drugs can be allowed to have liberal prices. The government can earn lot of good will of the people by providing all essential drugs free at healthcare facilities.

Prof. Zaheeruddin Babar facilitator of the workshop opined that non-availability of drugs is a global problem. There are issues with drug distribution and supply chair procurement issues. International donor agencies pool their resources and then make available these drugs. We need to look into the burden of the diseases cost to the society. For example just look at the cost of hypertension, its direct and indirect cost if it is not treated. Take into account the cost of illness. It is of no use to undertake studies regarding burden of diseases. We know the problem but we need effective interventions.

Chairman of PPMA Mr. Mohammed Zaka Ur Rehman in his concluding remarks at the workshop said that unfortunately in Pakistan decisions are taken on political basis. There are lot of issues with drug pricing. We hope and pray that we will have a better policy in 2020 to improve public health issues in Pakistan. We can make a presentation to the Government on all these issues which will help them in taking correct decisions, he added.