New drugs law in the offing

The Punjab government is committed and determined to provide most modern healthcare facilities including free medicines to the people at its hospitals throughout the province and at the same time it is taking adequate measures to ensure the patients get good quality medicines from medical stores and menace of counterfeit medicines is effectively checked and eliminated.
It is good to note that the Provincial Government has all stakeholders on board in the preparation of a consensus draft bill to amend the Drugs Act which is likely to be tabled in the next session of the Provincial Assembly sometime in August.
According to the reports, the consensus draft amending bill aims at providing not only business-friendly environment to the pharmaceutical industry but also ensure the patients throughout the country get quality and cost effective medicines. It is commendable that the consensus amending bill on one hand will allay the apprehensions and concerns of the stakeholders and at the same time tighten the noose around producers and manufacturers of counterfeit medicines to this evil menace.
On lot of hue and cry being raised upon passage of the Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2017 sometime back, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif taking due notice of this had constituted a Cabinet Committee headed by the Law Minister which had held intense consultations with the representatives of pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and wholesalers for about three months and identified seven contentious points which were further narrowed down to just two ensuring that these are acceptable both to the government and pharmaceutical industry for the ultimate overall benefit of the patients throughout the country.
It is also a positive move that the provincial government wants to eliminate the system of drug inspectors which has somehow become a mafia gradually replaced by audit by renowned private firms and implement the international standards in this regard in vogue in the developed countries of the world. Hopefully, after the new amendment bill is tabled in the provincial legislature in its upcoming session and passed, its implementation in due course will help eliminate fake and spurious drugs manufacturing and sale thus ensuring good quality medicines to the patients for their overall healthy life.
M Z RIFAT
Lahore

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