Health care: ‘Imported medicines have no alternatives in Pakistan’

Discouraging import of medicines can have dire consequences, warns speaker


Our Correspondent April 09, 2016
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KARACHI: Most of the imported medicines, including anesthetic gases, gonadotropins, biological and various vaccines, are not manufactured in Pakistan. There import must not be discouraged as patients have no other alternatives available.

This was remarked by Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association (PCDA) member Saifur Rehman during the stakeholders roundtable on ‘Access to Medicine and Patients Safety’ at Pearl Continent on Tuesday. The event was organised by Justice Helpline.

The availability and access to medicines should be ensured to the patients, remarked Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association chairperson Hamid Raza. The quality and pricing of the drugs must also be checked. The regulators should keep an eye on the substandard medicine selling throughout the country.

Medicines should only be dispensed on the prescription of doctors, said Dr Qaiser Sajjad of Pakistan Medical Association. Self-medication should also be discouraged as this increases the demand and subsequently the price of medicines, he claimed.

Speaking about raids on pharmaceutical shops, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry standing committee on chemist and druggist vice-chairperson Atam Prakash said that law enforcers raid the shops in wholesale market. But, it is portrayed as if the whole sellers are selling spurious drugs, he added.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director Ali Israr replied to this and said that FIA only takes a legal action if it gets a complaint. He further stated that if the drug inspectors and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) become efficient then FIA would not interfere in their domain.

DRAP CEO Dr Muhammad Aslam demanded that all the stakeholders should do their jobs ethically. Self-regulation is the best regulation, he added.

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