Regulating pharmacies

Healthcare system faces multifaceted challenges, ranging from insufficient infrastructure to regulatory gaps

December 29, 2023

Pakistan’s healthcare system faces multifaceted challenges, ranging from insufficient infrastructure to regulatory gaps, and the Health Ministry’s recent focus on pharmaceutical sector reform is a step towards rectifying these issues. The prevalence of multidrug-resistant typhoid cases points towards the urgent need for disciplined practices in medicine dispensation. By transforming ‘medical stores’ into ‘drugs stores’ with limitations on prescription drugs, the ministry seeks to create a more regulated environment, aligning Sindh with global best practices.

The insistence on having a pharmacist at every pharmacy is a pivotal decision that not only ensures responsible and informed medication distribution but also raises the professional status of pharmacists within the healthcare system. In a country where the availability of antibiotics is often unregulated, this initiative aims to instill stricter controls, mitigating the risks associated with antibiotic misuse and contributing to the global effort against antimicrobial resistance. In Pakistan, where access to healthcare services can be uneven, the pharmacist’s role becomes even more vital. Often, individuals consult pharmacists for minor ailments and medication advice, making them an integral part of primary healthcare. A strengthened pharmaceutical workforce is essential for advancing healthcare services and research, ultimately improving patient outcomes. This move not only addresses the immediate concerns within the province but also acts as a catalyst for attracting and retaining talent, preventing the brain drain that often plagues developing healthcare systems.

In the broader context of Sindh’s healthcare, these initiatives are poised to enhance the province’s resilience against emerging health threats and improve the overall quality of care. By setting a precedent for disciplined pharmaceutical practices, these reforms contribute to a more robust and regulated healthcare environment.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2023.

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