Islamabad: Amid the inflation in Pakistan, over three dozen pharmaceutical companies have informed the Drug Regulatory Authority that they going to halt production citing the unavailability of raw materials, and sought a price increase, Dawn reported.

Although the Pakistan government assured that there will be no shortage of medicines in the country, still as many as 40 companies on Monday said that they are going to halt production in a week due to the unavailability of raw materials.

Moreover, the medical companies also claimed that their cases looking for an increase in the price, under the 'hardship category' were not being decided by courts.

Under the hardship category, companies may file court cases to increase prices if production cost goes beyond the maximum sale price.

Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association chairman Syed Farooq Bukhari, while talking to Dawn, said PPMA had demanded a 28.5 per cent across-the-board increase in prices, reported Dawn.

"In 2018, one US dollar was around Rs140 but now, due to the depreciation of the rupee, that value has increased to around Rs270. Because of this situation, 40 companies have written letters to the health ministry and Drap that they will not be able to continue production of medicines [after] one week," he said.

Pharma Bureau executive director Ayesha Tammy Haq, while talking to Dawn, said the companies were facing a severe shortage of dollars.

"It is unfortunate that the government has dollars to import vehicles but LCs (letters of credit) are not being opened. A number of containers are not being cleared. We have run out of raw materials. Moreover, there is a massive devaluation of the rupee as it has dropped by Rs60 against the dollar in just one month," Dawn quoted Haq saying.

Earlier, The Express Tribune reported that the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan is struggling to replenish its supplies amid a shortage of essential life-saving drugs and other surgical instruments.

The economic crisis faced by Pakistan is caused by a number of factors, including the refusal of commercial banks to issue new Letters of Credit (LCs) on account of a shortage of US dollars that has impacted drug companies, as per The Express Tribune report.

Pharmaceutical companies have been facing difficulty to maintain stocks of essential life-saving drugs. As experts have warned of the economy "sinking into near-paralysis", top pharmaceutical firms are facing difficulty to get raw materials to manufacture drugs while being forced to reduce production as patients suffer in hospitals, The News International reported citing sources.

The crisis comes as Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves touched an eight-year low of USD 4.3 billion and talk with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hang in balance.

Due to the ongoing economic crisis, Pakistan is unable to buy basic imports, including medicine and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), several vaccines, and biological products for the treatment of cancer and other diseases, as per the news report.