An organization of Pakistani-American doctors have authored a memo to Prime Minister Imran Khan conveying unease over the excessive rates set for COVID-19 vaccines shots in Pakistan corresponding to the pricing plan endorsed by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
The group of physicians, who belong to the Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent of North America (APPNA), stated that the profit surplus permitted to distributors and retailers for a life-saving drug such as this is unjustified.
The doctors in their letter said that under DRAP’s method, the price for two dosages of the Sputnik-V vaccine has been set up at Rs8,449 and that for a particular dose of the Cansino Biologics shot at Rs4,225.
The letter indicated: “According to press reports, [DRAP] has endorsed a pricing formula permitting 40% mark-up (profit) for distributors of the vaccines along with an additional 15% mark-up for sellers.”
This comes to a 55% profit margin, which they told “cannot be defended by any means” for fundamentally a life-saving medication in a poverty-stricken country.
The association stated that it is concerned that in Pakistan, where 30-40% citizens live below the deprivation line, “this price overcharging and increased prices” will make the vaccines away from the reach of a larger part of the population.
APPNA, therefore, emphasized that the vaccine, which is thus far seen as “the lone hope” to curb the pandemic, must not be left excessive to millions. It said the outcomes of such a step will be “devastating”.
“A human disaster must not be tolerated to be used for take advantage of,” the association argued in the letter.
It pleaded to PM Imran Khan to “immediately examine the situation” himself.
The association suggested that the government should embark on the task of importing the shots itself, “on a promising basis” as it is “finest arranged to bargain satisfactory rates with manufacturers”.
The consortium of doctors stated that although preferably the vaccine ought to be accessible to all free of cost, but if the country’s economic situation does not let it, it should be offered “at no additional profit “.
It also appealed for subsidies to be given to the poor regardless.
The doctors noted that the Central as well as provincial governments “have enormous human resources accessible” in their particular health departments. They have emphasized on the demand for these resources to be utilised for the distribution and management of vaccines to the public, while also indicating making use of medical student come forward for the endeavor.
“APPNA also takes the opportunity to appeal to you to make live telecast of the meetings of regulatory authorities such as DRAP mandatory for the sake of transparency,” they further suggested.
The association, in the end, reminded the premier that it stands ready to help Pakistan “in any way it can”.
“We remain at your call,” the doctors wrote.