Karachi [Pakistan], August 12 (ANI): Rising conflicts between the drug regulatory body and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Pakistan has put a blockade on the production of several drugs leading to shortages of medicines in the market.
Notably, a list of around 40 different medicines compiled by health professionals from leading public and private sector hospitals, reported Dawn, adding that several locally manufactured tablets, syrups, injections and ointments or drops are no longer available.
A senior pharmacist who was part of the team that compiled the list for the authorities in July told Dawn that these medicines include prescriptions for several conditions.
"It doesn't end here. Medicines for patients of tuberculosis, epilepsy, Parkinson's, cardiovascular disease and other conditions are also not available in the market... but I don't know why this situation has failed to create any buzz," he said.
As per Dawn, the brands of Lithium Carbonate are used to treat mental health issues and are often referred to as 'suicide prevention drugs' which are not available in the market.
In addition, essential medicines, including methylphenidate for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and clonazepam drops and tablets for epilepsy in children and adults have not been available for the past several weeks.
Health professionals have already started experiencing the impact of this crisis and are seeking immediate intervention from the authorities.
The issue behind the shortage stems from producers who have been complaining about rising prices of raw materials in the international market, resulting in an elevated production cost, which they insist can only be met through a 40 per cent increase in prices across the board.
The pharmaceutical industry claims that local manufacturers have stopped importing raw materials owing to their rising prices in the international market and have claimed that manufacturing the drugs has become "infeasible" for them as the government has refused to allow them to raise prices.
This had forced several producers to review their business plans, stated Dawn, adding that if the situation persisted, more than 200 generics would no longer be available in the market.
The authorities, however, term the industry reaction "somewhat exaggerated", saying that it appears to be a bid to obtain approval for an across-the-board increase in the prices of medicines. Although no one from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) was available to speak on the record, an official from the regulator told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the shortage was not as dire as was being portrayed.
"There's a shortage of some medicines but it's not as huge as is being claimed," he said refuting the claims of drug shortage and ongoing crisis. (ANI)