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Quackery soars at home-based clinics in the capital

ISLAMABAD: According to the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, incompetent health practitioners are running clinics from their homes in Islamabad.

There is a need to revamp the primary healthcare system of the capital, Dr Mirza told a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination.

Around 70% of the people in Pakistan get healthcare services from the private sector, he said adding that these 70% people lose their entire life’s savings to private hospitals when met with severe ailments.

The SAPM, on health, said the public health services were in shambles.

In Islamabad, the PIMS and Polyclinic are understaffed, running on low budget yet faced with an overburden of patients, he said.

Senator Javed Abbasi said that doctors were running private clinics in their houses in the federal capital.

Senators said that quacks were doing surgeries in bedrooms that have been converted into operation theatres. Abbasi said that this unchecked practice was causing the spread of several diseases and putting the lives of people at risk who visited these clinics for the treatment of various medical complications due to the burden on public hospitals.

Abbasi said that private hospitals in the federal capital were looting the patients in the name of unwanted laboratory tests and surgeries, but no one was here to warn and stop them from illegal and unethical doings with needy patients.

He named the hospitals that charge fees in hundreds and thousands of rupees. One particular hospital’s surgery charges run into over a million rupees.

He said that the Ministry of National Health Services should implement the Federal Health Authority Bill in true spirit. Senator Liaquat Tarkai noted that the government should take measures to stop famous private hospitals from misleading patients.

Senator Rehman Malik said that the government should take steps to improve the standard of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). He raised a question concerning the relieving of four PMDC council members.

Chairman Committee, Senator Attique Shaikh, said that the committee was vigilant and asked the Ministry of National Health Services to take steps to satisfy the country’s people on the availability of quality medical services.

Mirza said the government was paying particular focus on removing barriers in order to streamline the affairs of the PMDC. He assured to look into the matter of relieving four PMDC council members.

Punishment for selling fake drugs

Senator Malik proposed a punishment up to 14 years imprisonment with a fine of Rs50 million for those involved in the production and sale of unauthentic medicines by proposing an amendment in The Drugs Act, 1976.

In a letter to the Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services and Regulations, Senator Malik stated that he had studied The Drugs Act 1976 in-depth and during his services in FIA. He had experienced difficulties in taking action against the manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of spurious medication because of the lacunas in the law.

He stated that the prosecution against the criminals involved in the spurious medicines, raids, and checks against them could not be undertaken without prior a sanction from the drug inspector. In his letter, he proposed that the government should make amendments in the relevant sections of the Drugs Act, 1976 with some additions.

Senator Malik proposed that the FIA should be able to undertake any checking raid on the factories reported to be manufacturing spurious medication without getting any clearance from the drug inspector.

In the meeting, Malik also proposed a bill to further amend The Drug Act, 1976, to ensure the proper manufacture of Snake Bite and Dog Bite Vaccines locally in Pakistan.

The committee discussed the quantity and value of medicines and vaccines in detail being imported from India every month in Pakistani rupees.

August 1, 2019

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