Patients and attendants are running from pharmacy to pharmacy as a huge number of medicines are in short supply, posing a threat to the lives of thousands of patients while the regulatory authorities are busy bringing prices of folic acid tablet down from 25 paisas to 16 paisas.
Due to different regulatory, pricing and other registration issues as many as 38 important drugs are in short supply in the market, which has created issues for patients across the country, an official at a pharmaceutical company said.
According to details, the drugs that are short in the market include Asparaginase (Injection 10,000IU), Aztreonam (Injection 500mg and 1gram), Barium Sulphate Aqueous (Suspension).
Dactinomycin (Injection 500mcg), Deferoxamine (Injection 500mg), Ephedrine (Injection 30mg/ml), Glycopyrrolate (Injection 0.2mg/ml), Imatinib (Tablets 100mg and 400mg).
Isoproterenol (Injection 1mg/ml), Labetalol (Injection 5mg/ml), Meglumine Antimoniate (Injection 30%), Mercaptopurine (Tablets 50mg), Miltefosine Solid (Oral Dosage Form 10mg and 50mg), Phenoxymethylpenicillin (Powder for Oral Liquid 250mg/5ml), Procaine Penicillin (Injection 1MIU and 3MIU).
Procarbazine (Capsule 50mg), Proguanil (Tablets 100mg), Propylthiouracil (Tablets 50mg), Rituximab (Injection 100mg/10ml, 500mg/50ml), Spectinomycin (Injection 2gram), Thioguanine Solid (Oral Dosage Form 40mg), Trastuzumab (Injection 40mg and 60mg).
Trimethoprim + Sulfamethoxazole (Injection 800mg + 160mg), Chloramphenicol (Tablets / Capsules 250mg), Ivermectin (Tablets 3mg and 6mg), Amphotericin (Injection 50mg), (Long acting) Benzathine penicillin (Injection 0.1MIU, 0.6MIU, 1.2MIU, 0.05MIU), Parenteral fosfomycin (Injection 1gram).
Rabies immunoglobulin (Injection 150IU/ml, 200IU/ml), Primaquine (Tablets 7.5mg), Voriconazole (Tablets 40mg, 200mg), Typhoid vaccine (Injection 1000 mil/ml, 25 mcg/0.5ml, 500 mil/0.5ml), Injection Hydralazine (20mg), Rabies Vaccine (Injection 2.5IU/ml, 200IU/ml).
And Rubella vaccines (Injection 1000 TCID 50), Injection Amiodarone (50mg/ml), Injection Atracurium (Injection 10mg/ml), Thyroxin (Tablets 50mcg and 100mcg), and Nitrofurantoin (Tablets 100mg).
He said that the shortage is caused by umpteen issues which are not only hampering productions but also the delays will result in many pharmaceuticals diverting their production facilities elsewhere in the region.
He informed that delays are caused as the companies have to approach the regulator for even a minor change in the design of the packing or color of the pack, the applications remain pending for weeks while DRAP remains busy in bringing the prices down, many drugs which even after regular price increases remain within a price range of 10 to 45 paisas go out of supply due to unnecessary debate of reducing prices further.
“In this situation the Drug Regulatory Authority’s focus is only on pricing. They have failed to honor their mandate to regulate and support local pharmaceutical industry in order to ensure availability of life saving drugs,” he said.
The source added that it is not that only local market is getting affected by the flawed policies of DRAP, but the industry is losing its capacity to explore foreign markets as well while on average exports have also declined.
This uncertainty has caused on the one hand lack of investments by the companies in new projects and decline in exports on the other. Pakistan’s pharmaceutical export stands at less then $200 million per annum against India’s export of $ 15 billion which it is striving to take to $45 billion.