ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association (PYPA) has urged the Prime Minister (PM) to intervene and stop the Ministry of National Health Services and Medicines Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) from manufacturing and sell paracetamol 665mg tablets in Pakistan, ”which are completely banned in Europe and never registered in the United States due to serious health risks leading to even death”.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the PYPA, while accusing the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SPAM) on National Health Services, Faisal Sultan, and other senior Health Ministry officials as well as the DRAP officials said the move aims to allow certain pharmaceutical companies to defraud the Pakistani masses.
The association said paracetamol 665mg tablets were completely banned in Europe due to documented harms, including an increased risk of liver failure and death in 2019.
The association said panadol 500mg tablet in 2018 in Pakistan cost Rs 0.90 per tablet which after 2019 was increased to Rs 1.70 per tablet adding that an increase of Rs 0.01 in the paracetamol tablet means increase in profits of Rs 50 million per year, while calculating the impact of increase of Rs 0.8 per tablet means increase of Rs 4 billion in margins of pharmaceutical company, supplier of raw materials and distributors.
PYPA further stated that the annual sale of paracetamol/panadol in Pakistan is around Rs 9 billion, in case the Ministry of Health and DRAP authorize the sale of 665mg paracetamol tablets at 5.68 rupees per tablet, stakeholder margins will increase from Rs 4 billion to Rs 14 billion per year, three and a half times more than current margins.
The association further claimed that DRAP registered panadol 665mg in 2021 in Pakistan, which was completely banned in Europe in 2019, and paracetamol 665mg was never registered in countries like the United States. and Canada.
The association further accused DRAP and GSK of creating an artificial shortage of panadol/paracetamol 1500mg tablets with the aim of introducing 665mg with a fixed price of Rs 5.68 per tablet.
The association urged the prime minister to launch a thorough criminal investigation against the DRAP mafia, health officials, the special assistant to the prime minister and all pharmaceutical companies involved in looting and gambling with the lives of Pakistanis.
PYPA further called on the government to make every effort to recover the stolen money; and money transferred out of Pakistan (money laundering) can be brought into Pakistan; and panadol 665mg should be immediately withdrawn from the market.
When contacted, DRAP CEO Asim Rauf for developments said the 665mg paracetamol tablets are not for everyone, but for those who want to get extended release tablets. to relieve pain.
He added that the formulation of the 500mg and 665mg tablets were slightly different, saying most patients use 500mg tablets and DRAP will not stop supply of this variant.
Adding the 665mg tablet will give patients choice, especially those who want extended release, he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022