Audacity of chemists

THE Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association has announced its decision to observe an indefinite shutter down in Punjab from Monday onwards against the amendments made in the Punjab Law Act 1976 by the provincial assembly and demanded for it to be repealed. They have described the punishments envisaged in the amendment as very strict and harsher.
No doubt, the amended law provides for imprisonment between six months to three years and a fine of one hundred thousand to one million rupees but the rationale and logic for the strike is not understandable as the punishment is meant for owners of shops and stores that keep and sell spurious drugs and not for those who deal in genuine medicines. More harsher are punishments for manufacturers, importers or sellers of a spurious, adulterated or unregistered drug as they will get an imprisonment of three to ten years and a fine of 25 to 50 million rupees. The legislation in question was need of the hour and has been enacted because of longstanding demand of the people in view of growing menace of fake, spurious and substandard drugs. Doctors prescribe medicines to save life but what about those who sell spurious medicines to patients and as a consequence their condition worsens or someone dies. This simply falls within the definition of murder and those who cause such deaths must be treated as killers and murderers. We believe that the punishments envisaged in the provincial law are soft as killers should not be allowed to go scot-free after paying a few hundred thousand rupee fine or just six months imprisonment. The threat to go to strike is an indirect admission and acknowledgement that many of the druggists and chemists deal in spurious and substandard drugs. The menace of fake and substandard drugs has also brought bad name to the country as it used to earn significantly due to export of drugs but it lost several markets because of unethical behaviour of some greedy souls. There should be no room for those who are minting money by selling adulterated food or fake medicines and play with the life of the people. The Government should, therefore, must not succumb to such pressure tactics by representative bodies that act like mafias and instead cancel their licenses and give them to those who believe in fair business practices.

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