Searching for a remedy: Chemists continue partial strike

He assured strict action would be taken against any elements which put human lives in danger


Our Correspondent February 14, 2017
The wholesale medicine market is shut in protest. PHOTO: NNI

LAHORE: The pharmaceutical industry and chemists continued their strike on Tuesday to protest against amendments in the drug law of 1976, claiming the changes will cause losses up to Rs200 billion for the industry in Pakistan.

A distributor, Zeeshan Khalid, told The Express Tribune the strike could create a shortage of medicine and the government would be responsible if someone died due to the lack of drugs.

However, during the visit to different localities, most of the chemist shops were open and people seemed in a rush to get their hands on the products.

“I am here to buy diapers for my baby,” commented Muhammad Aslam, who was at Firdous Market. He urged the government to address the grievances of the pharma industry and chemists.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum’s President Noor Muhammad said all chemists shops will remain closed for an indefinite period until the government withdraw its amendment.

“We are planning to burn our educational degrees in front of the Punjab assembly as the government is snatching our bread and butter,” he commented. He stated the strike was not being observed in Lahore alone, but all over country and people were untied against the government.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Primary & Secondary Health Khawaja Imran Nazir said nobody would be allowed to manufacture or sell substandard or spurious drugs in Punjab.

He assured strict action would be taken against any elements which put human lives in danger. Nazir clarified that pharmaceutical units were manufacturing good quality medicines which were according to rules and regulations. He said they should not be worried by the law.

He stated those selling spurious drugs were creating a bad name for the whole community and suggested that licences should not be cancelled on a minor error. He urged authorities to punish offenders according to the intensity of their negligence or violation.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.

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