Acute shortage of medicines jeopardises lives

An acute shortage of some life-saving drugs has taken place in the market here but the health authorities have turned a blind eye to the issue, giving opportunity to the black-marketers to make fortunes, The Nation has learnt.
A survey conducted by this scribe revealed that the prices of some medicines shot up to five fold in the market and the patients faced with severe difficulty in finding their desired medicines.
“The field force of pharmaceutical companies has created the fake paucity of medicines with the connivance of distributors to fleece the patients,” said health sources. Thirty-tablets pack AZM used to dry water in the head of infants are available at a few pharmacies against Rs2,000 while its actual price is just Rs47. Similarly, Decadron injection is being sold at Rs750 in black instead of its actual price of Rs350. The price of Panadol tablet has also gone up by Rs5 per strip. The demand for Panadol went up because of its use in treatment of dengue fever and the price of per strip went up to Rs15 from Rs10.
It was found during the survey that many other medicines like Thyroxin, Lenoxin, Angesid, Phenobarbitone, Batnisol drops, Actifid P syrup and calcium injection were also being sold at exorbitant rates. The survey revealed that the patients were forced to purchase some irrelevant medicines, called by the medicine distributors dead items, if they wanted to buy medicines currently falling in short item list of medicines.
Meanwhile, the civil society and human rights activists demanded that the government should take notice of fake shortage of life saving drugs and adopt immediate measures to ensure availability of medicines.
“It’s really horrible. A heart patient is dying of attack and his attendants are told that the medicine is not available in the market. Is this the fruit of democracy we’ve been striving for?” questioned Azeem Khan, a civil society activist. He said that the government had a large health apparatus in terms of drug inspectors and health officials, who drew millions of rupees from national kitty as their salaries, but they completely failed to discharge their duties. He alleged that the concerned health authorities were equally responsible for medicine crisis, demanding that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should take immediate action for ending the drug shortage.
PROTEST POSTPONED: The Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association has called off a rally on an assurance given by the provincial education minister regarding confirmation of services of all lecturers recruited in 2012 within next two months.
PPLA Secretary General Tanveer Shah disclosed that another meeting with the minister would take place on April 2 followed by PPLA’s Central Executive Committee meeting. “The future line of action will be announced after this meeting,” he added.
He claimed that Minister Rana Mashhood gave the assurance in a recent meeting with a delegation of the association and told them that all the lecturers appointed on contractual basis in different colleges of Punjab during 2012 would be given job confirmation in two months.
The PPLA had given a call for a protest rally from Nasir Bagh to Punjab Assembly on March 27 but it has called off the procession after getting assurance from the provincial government. The delegation discussed a number of issues with the provincial minister and Rana Mashhood told the delegates that the policy to upgrade colleges as universities would also be revised soon and no college would be given university status till the revision.

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