ISLAMABAD - The shortage of medicines in the market due to delay in allocation of ephedrine quota by the government to pharmaceutical industries, would continue to persist as least for one-and-a-half month.
According to information the quota that the government used to allocate in January has been allocated in August and September after repeated requests by the industry and the production will also take two to three months. About 70 per cent industry deliberately did not apply for the quota allocation due to scandalisation of the issue to avoid any backlash and those who had applied have been released 50 per cent quota yet.
The shortage of life-saving drugs and the other medicines used for the treatment of flu, fever, cold and cough will surely result in the sudden rise of many counterfeit and spurious drugs to increase the number of patients. According to sources in the pharmaceutical industry, some medicine companies refused to take the desired quota of narcotics ingredients this year just because of the ongoing scam of ephedrine that has also created the shortage of the medicines including narcotics ingredients in domestic market i.e, Betnesol N drops, Betnesol Tablet, Polyfax eye ointment, Thyroxine Tablet, Vancocin injection, Cardarone Tablet, Inderal Tablet, Benadryl syrup, Xanax Tablet, Lexotanil Tablet, Ativan Tablet, Hydryllin DM syrup and Arinac Tablet, Actifed (including Actifed DM syrup, Actifed cold, Actifed P tablet), Sancos cough syrup, and Erythrocin (used for throat infection).
There are some medicines without their use, the treatment of a patient having cancer or cardiac issues, epilepsy and migraine becomes almost impossible. These medicines include Fentanyl injection (used in bypass) and cancer and Cafergott (Ergotamine) used for the treatment of epilepsy and migraine. The pharmaceutical industry is repeatedly receiving the requests even from some leading hospitals like Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital, Shifa Hospital Islamabad and National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) for Fentanyl and Cafergott but due to insufficient release of quota of narcotics ingredients by the government, the pharmaceutical sector is finding it a difficult task to supply the medicines as per the requests made by the health institutions, sources added. Sources said that four renowned pharmaceutical companies have already taken stay orders from the Lahore High Court as a protest against the recent decision of the government about the reduction in prices of 92 medicines, while the rest have stopped manufacturing these medicines creating severe shortage of these drugs in the domestic market.