The ECC Has Approved A 20% Increase In Medicine Prices.

Govt advises Policy Board to review situation after three months and make its recommendations to federal authorities

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April 28, 2023


To “ensure continuous availability of drugs in the market,” the federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a 20% increase in the prices of essential medicines for the second time in less than three months on Friday, putting them out of reach for the poor amid soaring inflation.

According to a Finance Division release, the decision was made during an ECC meeting with Federal Minister of Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar.

The ECC, on February 10, approved an increase in the prices of 20 medicines, including paracetamol.

“To ensure continuous availability of drugs in the market, the ECC allowed as a one-time dispensation, allowed manufacturers and importers to increase their existing MRPs of essential drugs equal to 70% increase in CPI ( with a cap of 14% ) and MRPs of all other drugs and lower priced drugs an increase up to 70% in CPI (with a cap of 20%) on the basis of average CPI for current year i-e 1st July, 2022 to 01st April 2023 with condition that it should be considered as an annual increase for the financial year 2023-24 and no increase under this category will be granted in next financial year,” read the statement.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination presented a summary on increase in maximum retail prices of drugs based on the recommendations of the Policy Board of DRAP in the wake of the devaluation of the rupee and inflation.

The ECC further advised the Policy Board to review the situation after three months — in July 2023 and make its recommendations to the federal govt regarding price decrease if the rupee appreciates its value.

Meanwhile, the ECC considered and approved a summary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding the fixation of wheat procurement targets for the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan for wheat crop 2022-23 along with cash credit limit.

I — Govt of Sindh assigned a procurement target of 1.400 MMT with a procurement price of Rs 4000/40 Kg.

Ii — Govt of Punjab assigned procurement target of 3.500 MMT with procurement price Rs 3900/40 Kg.

Iii — Govt of Balochistan assigned a procurement target of 0.100 MMT with a procurement price of Rs. 3900/40 Kg.

The ECC also considered and approved Rs. 35 million additional funds as a technical supplementary grant in favour of the Ministry of Interior for the establishment of Passport Processing Centers (PPCs) at the Tehsil level in 30 administrative units throughout the country and creation of 30 posts of MRP operational officers in Department of Immigration and Passports, subject to the approval of the Austerity Committee.

Ministry of Aviation submitted a summary on challenges and re-opening of Roosevelt Hotel, New York and informed that PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL) management has got an opportunity offered by the New York City Government to utilise the hotel over a period of three years for migrant business @ US$ 200 per room per day.

The ECC after discussion approved the recommendations of the ministry and approved the formation of a four-member negotiating committee led by the secretary Aviation Division to negotiate with the New York city government and the hotel union. The ECC also allowed PIA-IL/ RHC to utilize the funds of $1.145 million from the available balance as bridge financing to commence the re-opening work at the Hotel.

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