More than 70 important and life-saving medicines are not on the market right now.
In Pakistan, the shortage of medicines is expected to get worse. More than 70 essential and life-saving medicines are currently missing from the market across the country.
Because the prices of raw materials on the global market have gone up and production costs are high, local pharmaceutical companies have stopped importing the raw materials. This could make the crisis worse.
The drug companies have stopped bringing in the raw materials for 200 molecules because their prices have gone up on the global market and the cost of making them is more than the companies can afford.
Pharmaceutical companies say that they won’t be able to make these medicines if taxes aren’t given by the government and the prices of medicines aren’t raised.
This is the third week in a row that no new orders for raw materials have been placed. So, production is still going on and there is still some stock, but it won’t last long and will soon stop. This will make the drug shortage crisis even worse.
After a month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the crisis of a lack of medicines. He has reviewed the fact that 60 essential medicines are not available in the country and has asked the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to give a full report on the availability of medicines.
Before the federal government could do anything, local companies stopped making a number of medicines, which made the situation even worse.
We made a list of medicines that aren’t on the market by working with some of the best public and private hospitals and health experts in the country.
A senior pharmacist who was part of the team that made the list of drugs that shouldn’t be sold The list, which was made in July, had the names of 40 different drugs, such as pills, syrups, injections, ointments, and drops.
He said that there are about 74 medicines that can’t be bought right now. These include drugs for diseases of the brain and mind, as well as drugs that are meant to stop people from killing themselves.
For example, not all brands of lithium carbonate, which is the best drug for treating many psychiatric diseases, are sold on the market.
He said that methylphenidate, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in kids, and clonazepam drops and tablets, which are used to treat epilepsy in kids and adults, were not on the market for several weeks.
He said that this is not the end of the story. There are also no medicines on the market for people with TB (tuberculosis), epilepsy, Parkinson’s, heart disease, and other illnesses.
Sources in the pharmaceutical industry say that this wasn’t a random choice by the local pharmaceutical companies. Instead, the situation has forced them to stop making medicines one by one, which is now causing medicines to be hard to find on the market.
Another manufacturer said that 9 different companies make lithium carbonate, but none of them make it anymore because the prices of raw materials are going up and the costs of making it are going through the roof.
The head of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, said that the local industry has stopped making a number of drugs, which has caused a crisis on the market.
After the Corona Crisis was over, the world market was open for business for the last year. After the crisis, the prices of raw materials on the world market are very different.
“We kept selling the drug even though our profit margins were getting smaller and smaller, but rising production costs in the area have almost made it impossible,” he said. Companies can’t afford to lose any more money, so they aren’t importing raw materials. This means that they won’t be able to make as many drugs in the future. To get out of the recent crisis, he suggested that the government raise the prices of some medicines and stop regulating how they are priced. It will get worse.
Under the condition of anonymity, a Drug Regulatory Authority employee said that the PPMA is using the lack of medicines as a threat to try to raise the prices of all medicines by 40%. Not possible.
Where in the world is it possible to raise the prices of all medicines at once? In Pakistan, where inflation is already a problem, it is not possible to raise all prices at once.
He said that we don’t think there is any drug that has a problem with the cost of making it and has stopped making it because of that. He said that there is no such drug.
There are definitely drugs whose supply chain is affected by something outside of the company or that have a generic problem that means the price should go up.
According to the report we made by working together, there are about 35 medicines in the hardship cases for which the prices should go up. The cabinet has been told that the prices of these medicines should go up.
Lithium carbonate is also included in these hardship cases. These hardship cases are still being looked at, and the cabinet will decide on their prices.
He said that PPMA should make a small sacrifice because the country is not in a place where people should have to carry more weight. Now, it is not possible to make 75,000 medicines at the same time.
HAMID RAHMAN, Samaa TV
Aug 12, 2022