Supreme Court of Pakistan: PHOTO: AFP/FILE

No shortage of Covid medicines in Punjab, SC told

Provincial government submits progress report in suo moto case

Our Correspondent July 19, 2020

The Punjab government on Saturday informed the Supreme Court that there was no shortage of medicines in the province, while a mechanism had been put in place to deal with such a situation if it occurred.

The provincial government submitted the progress report in compliance with the court’s order on June 25, 2020 in a suo moto case regarding combating the coronavirus pandemic. The report was submitted by the implementation and coordination secretary on behalf of the chief secretary.

The progress report said that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) had compiled a list of essential drugs during the Covid pandemic, and primary and secondary healthcare department (P&SHD) was ensuring the availability of those drugs throughout the province.

“There is no shortage of drugs/medicines in the province of Punjab. However, as a preventive measure and in anticipation of any untoward situation, the P&SHD has approved the mechanism for each district across Punjab by nominating pharmacies which are required to provide the services 24/7…” it said.

According to the report, designated pharmacy services were being provided in 21 districts. Besides, the report added that hoarding and profiteering of oxygen and other drugs had been banned in the province.

Responding to certain court observations, the report mentioned that the government of Punjab had allocated Rs468.276 million for the purchase of vehicles for the financial year 2020-21, including Rs29.575 million for the purchase of new vehicles for the agriculture department.

“However, no funds have been allocated for procurement of new vehicles in regular budget for FY 2020-21, especially in the context of arresting the locust threat in Punjab,” read the report. It added that the Annual Development Programme had allocated Rs706 million for locust control in Multan.

The apex court was further informed that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had taken precautionary measures for the monsoon season, while the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) had prepared a plan for the improvement of water supply and sewerage system in urban areas.

The report stated that Wasa had formulated monsoon and urban flood management plans, adding that however these agencies faced financial hardship due to increased salary budgets and excessive expenditure on electricity bills.

“Housing Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department has been making strenuous efforts under the direction and guidance of the Punjab government to make the agency self-sustainable,” the report concluded.


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