Opinions

No Lab for “Drug Investigation” in the country

131122204409-erin-pkg-griffin-molly-party-drug-investigation-00012423-story-topLAHORE: There is neither health policy nor any Drug Investigation Laboratory(DIL) available in the country to check contamination in medicines, health sources revealed it here. It has been learnt that Pakistan has only seven drug testing laboratories one each in Sindh, Karachi, K-PK, Baluchistan and two in Punjab and two under the Federal government’s control (one in Islamabad and second in Karachi) which have basic equipment for simply testing the drugs with labels. However, these Labs are unable to analyze or check any contamination in the medicines, without any label. In the recent past when an incident of contamination in cardiac medicines was unearthed in Punjab Institute of Cardiology(PIC), where 284 patients of cardiac ailments had died after consuming contaminated medicines. The samples of medicines had to be sent to France and Switzerland for Lab analysis, since there was not a single “Drug Investigation Laboratory” (DIL) available within the country.

It is a matter of great concern that a thickly populated country like Pakistan has no facilities to analyze

or check any imported medicines, before certifying it for sale. The absence of DIL facilities is becoming more serious since more than 30,000 drug marketing companies are operating throughout Pakistan. These include the sellers of herbal, Unani, Homeopathic and Tibi medicine, which are mostly unregistered and their products are being sold openly without any checks and balances.

Meanwhile, after the devolution of power, since the health sector was handed over to the provincial governments, there has been no health policy, devised so far, in any province of the country. However, three more Drug Testing Laboratories (DTL) are being established in Punjab, located at Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore besides. Moreover, two “Food Testing Laboratories” are being run at Faisalabad and Rawalpindi costing Rs. 150 million to the exchequer.

But unfortunately, there is still not a single project conceived for establishing a Drug Investigation Laboratory in any province. Apparently, the authorities are waiting for another incident like the PIC crisis to happen, before they begin setting up a DIL.

January 27, 2014

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