PMA shows concern over shortage of life-saving drugs

MN Report 11:25 PM, 12 Aug, 2022
PMA shows concern over shortage of life-saving drugs

KARACHI: An urgent meeting of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) was held at PMA House, Karachi, to discuss the shortage of essential medicine and again increase in medicine prices. 

The meeting was presided by Dr Salma Aslam Kundi, Hon.President PMA Centre. 

Dr S.M.Qaisar Sajjad, Hon. Secretary General PMA Centre, Dr Sonia Naqvi, President PMA Karachi, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, Ex-President PMA Sindh, General Secretary PMA Karachi, Dr Hamid Manzoor, Dr Syed Tipu Sultan, Former President PMA Centre, Dr Qazi Wasiq, Hon. Treasurer PMA Centre and other members of PMA attended the meeting. 

The officials expressed concern over the acute shortage of medicine and the increased prices of drugs in Pakistan. Poor people in Pakistan face difficulty getting their treatment because government hospitals are not free; even medicine is not available to patients in these hospitals. The meeting also demanded the provision of quality health services at public sector hospitals. 

The attendees were particularly worried by a report in a part of the press that a growing dispute between the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and pharmaceutical companies has led to a scarcity of 40 different vital drugs on the market, a figure that is increasing daily. 

This scarcity is attributable to the fact that local manufacturers have ceased manufacturing various pharmaceuticals due to rising raw material prices on the international market, resulting in increased production costs.

The meeting rejected any more price increases. They believed that drug prices in Pakistan are already so exorbitant that even the middle class of society feels burdened. As a result, medicines are out of reach for the poor in Pakistan. 

This move will make it difficult for poor people to get treatment for their sick family members. In these circumstances, where there is a dearth of health facilities at public hospitals, no action that would increase the price should be taken. We reject this proposition vehemently.

The pricing of life-saving medications should always be modest. People currently spend between 50 and 60 per cent of their income on healthcare. It is a well-known reality that inflation has already resulted in an alarming rise in the cost of food and other essentials. In such circumstances, this increase in drug prices would exacerbate the plight of the populace.

PMA urged that the government consider alternative methods to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of medicine caused by the depreciation of the Pakistani currency. 

It might be accomplished by decreasing taxes on pharmaceutical businesses and lowering import duties on the raw materials for medication manufacture and packaging. 

Vaccines and pharmaceutical ingredients should be manufactured domestically. 

Priority should be given to eliminating fake, counterfeit, and smuggled medicines. PMA believed that the government, Pharma manufacturers and all the stakeholders should sit together and resolve all the issues in such a way that the problems of the manufacturer should also be addressed and the poor people should also not suffer. 



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