December 2, 2022

Paracetamol, several other life-saving drugs disappear

ISLAMABAD: After the unavailability of paracetamol tablets in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad markets and other cities in Pakistan over the past few months, various brands of paracetamol injection have also started disappearing from pharmacies, which are used in hospitals and health facilities to manage fever. , pharmacists and patients said Wednesday.

A survey of pharmacies in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore revealed that paracetamol tablets were not readily available, and those who had stocks of the various brands of paracetamol engaged in black marketing, selling the paracetamol blister from Rs30 to 80 instead of its official price. at Rs18.70 for 10 tablets.

Market sources said paracetamol tablets were being sold at extortionate prices across the country as pharmaceutical companies reduced its production to “the bare minimum”, arguing that the cost of producing each paracetamol had reached Rs2/tablet then that they were asked to sell it at Rs 18.70/10 tablets.

“In June 2020, the raw material of paracetamol was Rs 756/kg which is now available at Rs 2,300/kg. The cost of fuel, utilities and raw materials has also increased but manufacturers are still advised to sell the drug at Rs 18.70/10 tablets which is not possible,” an official said. Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA). on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, various brands of paracetamol injection disappeared from the market and patient attendants desperately sought injections of paracetamol, which is the first-line agent for the treatment of pain, dengue fever, malaria, typhoid and infectious diseases across the country.

“Paracetamol tablet is not readily available in the market and it is being sold at Rs80 for 10 tablets due to black marketing in Karachi because the government is unwilling to increase its price to Rs2.67/tablet. Patients are suffering because its production is under huge stress due to rising production costs,” said Zahid Saeed, former chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA).

Several manufacturers said that due to the rising cost of producing paracetamol they were unable to continue production while some of the major drug makers said their production was “under pressure” but that they manufactured to fulfill their national and international obligations.

In addition to some major brands of paracetamol, several other anti-fever drugs are not readily available, pharmacists said. Umaima Muzammil, Senior Pharmacist and Head of Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists (PSHP), said that due to the shortage of drugs, fake drugs have flooded the market and fraudsters are trying to sell these drugs to people. pharmacies with huge markups.

“We are seeing a shortage of anti-malarial drugs in addition to several other drugs and due to the unavailability of genuine drugs, the market is flooded with fake drugs,” Muzammil added.

On the other hand, pharmaceutical companies “Mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants are still not available and patients with bipolar affective disorder and their families are suffering!” The president of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS), Professor Imtiaz Dogar, told The News.