Pakistan runs short of life-saving drugs

Karachi: The pricing policy of Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and the depreciating rupee have caused extreme shortage of most imported and critical medicines in Pakistan, media reports said on Monday.

“Due to the extreme depreciation of Pakistani currency against the dollar and controversial drug pricing policy of Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), their prices have risen manifold and it has become economically unviable for importers to bring them on the existing prices given by the DRAP,” Abdul Mannan, a pharmacist and importer of biological products said, The News reported.

Both public and private healthcare facilities are facing a shortage of imported vaccines, cancer therapies, fertility drugs and anaesthesia gases after vendors stopped their supplies due to dollar-rupee disparity, medicines suppliers and officials said.

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At the moment, the most important drug which is not being supplied to health facilities is Heparin, which is a blood-thinning agent used after some cardiovascular procedures, The News reported.

Similarly, some important anaesthetic gases like isoflurane, sevoflurane as well as monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of different types of cancers as well as fertility products like human chronic gonadotropin (HCG) and human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG) are also not being provided to health facilities due to dollar-rupee disparity and pricing policy of the DRAP, they added.

Although most of the oral medicines including syrups, tablets and injections are produced locally, Pakistan imports most of the biological products including all vaccines, anti-cancer medicines and therapies, hormones, fertility medicines as well as other products from India, China, Russia, European countries as well as the US, and Turkey, The News reported.

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