National News, News

Surgeon General Pak Army Calls for Ban on OTC Sale of Antibiotics


Karachi- Surgeon General Pakistan Army Lt. General Zahid Hamid has demanded the regulatory authorities in Pakistan country to immediately put a ban on over the counter sale and without prescription availability of the antibiotics to ensure patient safety, minimize the emergence of drug-resistant diseases like drug resistant tuberculosis and other infections.

“We are fast approaching in post antibiotic era where a small cut on the body would lead to the death because of ineffectiveness of antibiotics due to their excessive use. I would demand regulatory authorities to immediately put a ban on over the counter sale and without prescription availability of antibiotics to ensure patient safety and preventing emergence of drug-resistant microorganisms”. Lt. General Zahid said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of 2nd International Conference on Patient Safety (ICPS) at Aga Khan University Hospital.

The international conference has been organized by the Riphah International University, Islamabad and it was attended by the national and international experts from United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Canada and many other parts of the world as well as heads and chiefs of various regulatory bodies, government functionaries, medical directors of country’s leading hospitals, pharmaceutical sector representatives, academicians, doctors, paramedics and patients.


Lauding the Punjab Healthcare Commission for its efforts in improving service delivery at Punjab hospitals and healthcare facilities, Surgeon Pakistan Army said other provinces should also learn from the practices and efforts being made by the Punjab healthcare commission in ensuring better healthcare service delivery to people.

“Pakistan Army Medical Corps and Punjab Healthcare commission are going to sign an MoU very soon to train and build capacity of the Punjab Healthcare Commission in improving service delivery at public hospitals and this understanding between the two organizations would definitely benefit the people”, he said, adding that such MoUs and services could also be signed with the healthcare bodies of the other provinces.

He maintained that hospital acquired infections, medication errors and other mistakes and omissions were the leading cause of deaths at hospitals worldwide including Pakistan and called for changing the culture of providing healthcare facilities at the public and private hospitals.

“Acquiring healthcare at private sector hospitals is becoming unaffordable with each passing day while at public sector hospitals, healthcare facilities are provided as a charity”, Lt. General Zahid Hamid observed and called for changing the culture of service delivery at the healthcare facilities.


Federal Health Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch said after devolution of power, healthcare service delivery was with the provinces and now it was the responsibility of the provinces to improve the condition of hospitals to ensure that patients are properly treated instead of acquiring untreatable diseases.

He informed that federal cabinet had recently approved the rules for the medical devices after the recent issues with the coronary stents and added that all the federal regulatory authorities including Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), Pakistan Nursign Council and others were doing their job to ensure patient safety within their spheres.

On the occasion, he offered federal government’s complete support in improving healthcare facilities at the provinces and called for implementation of laws regarding patient safety and ensuring quality of healthcare at the healthcare facilities.

President of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmed Lehri said without provision of quality medical education, patient safety and safeguarding the interests of the patients could not be ensured and in this regard, PMDC was taking every possible measure to ensure that quality of health education improves in the country.

“Patient should be the focus of healthcare system as without a patient, everybody, doctors, hospitals, medical colleges and entire system is irrelevant. We would have to focus on the patient safety for our own survival and wellbeing”, he remarked and offered full support to the organizers of the international conference on patient safety.

Renowned patient safety expert and Prof. at Wayne State University, USA Dr. Paul Barach said parliament in Pakistan should pass a legislation regarding patient safety and a patient safety act should be passed to hold accountable in case of any harm to patient due to negligence of hospitals and healthcare providers.


November 16, 2017

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