Have a deeper look in drug pol­icy

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

AF­TER hold­ing thread­bare dis­cus­sions on the ex­ist­ing drug pol­icy, Min­istry of Health Ser­vices and the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ers have agreed in prin­ci­ple to re­visit the Es­sen­tial Drug Avail­abil­ity and Pric­ing Pol­icy to meet the ob­jec­tives of avail­abil­ity of ef­fi­ca­cious, af­ford­able and qual­ity drugs.

The con­sen­sus on the pric­ing is­sue is a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment and in­deed will go a long way in mul­ti­ply­ing growth of the very im­por­tant sec­tor of the econ­omy. In our view the is­sues faced by the very vi­brant and for­ward look­ing Pharma in­dus­try needs to be looked into wider per­spec­tive. Apart from the pric­ing, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is also faced with many other is­sues par­tic­u­larly that of spu­ri­ous and fake drugs. There are peo­ple who have set up fa­cil­i­ties within the premises of their res­i­dences to pro­duce coun­ter­feit drugs which pose threat not only to the hu­man health but also to the name of the in­dus­try which has in­vested sub­stan­tially to up­grade it­self in the last few years. To­day, the ma­jor­ity com­pa­nies are fol­low­ing good man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices in ac­cor­dance with the do­mes­tic as well as in­ter­na­tional guid­ance. Though the gov­ern­ment is seen raid­ing pe­ri­od­i­cally, the places and ar­eas pro­duc­ing the fake drugs, yet the prob­lem ex­ists in large scale. Ac­cord­ing to the Pak­istani Phar­ma­cist As­so­ci­a­tion, there are ap­prox­i­mately four thou­sand phar­ma­cies in the coun­try but also as many as one hun­dred thou­sand other il­le­gal mer­chants sell­ing med­i­ca­tions. The situation war­rants a holis­tic and com­pre­hen­sive cam­paign in or­der to root out the mafia in­volved in the il­le­gal and im­moral prac­tices of pro­duc­ing and sell­ing spu­ri­ous drugs and play­ing with the lives of the peo­ple. All the field of­fices of DRAP in dif­fer­ent Prov­inces as well as other law en­force­ment agen­cies should be strength­ened and geared up to keep a strict vigil on such kind of crim­i­nal busi­ness. The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tor has emerged as one of the largest con­trib­u­tors to the na­tional econ­omy but its huge po­ten­tial for growth is still un­tapped. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts, it could eas­ily cross $10 bil­lion with in­creased ex­ports, which cur­rently stand around $20 mil­lion. There­fore, we will urge the gov­ern­ment to fully sup­port the in­dus­try and pro­vide all nec­es­sary in­cen­tives to it in or­der to re­al­ize its true po­ten­tial.

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