Healthcare summit demands slashing prices of life-saving drugs in Pakistan

The government should immediately act to bring down the medicine prices in the country to ensure their availability to underprivileged people who have been facing acute problems in getting access to quality health care services. This was one of the consensus demand by the speakers who addressed the 4th Pakistan Healthcare Summit-2021 organised by the Consumers’ Association of Pakistan (CAP) in Karachi.

The speakers demanded the government to immediately intervene to curtail the prices of life-saving drugs in the country to be purchased by the patients belonging to middle and lower-income groups.

 They said the medicine prices should be slashed, keeping in view skyrocketing inflation in the country, owing to which people had a hard time finding quality health care services.

They demanded strict enforcement of the recently issued code of ethics of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to regulate relations between the pharmaceutical companies and doctors to incentivise prescribing medicines to the patients. 

They said the drug manufacturers should be taken to task by the government following the newly notified rules of the DRAP for offering undue favours to the doctors for prescribing to their patients the medicines produced by these companies.

They urged the medical practitioners to fully adhere to their profession’s general code of ethics to ensure that every ailing citizen in the country got access to the best health treatment services in an honourable way.

The speakers, most of whom were associated with the health profession, also demanded that the government readily issue health insurance cards in Sindh to treat underprivileged patients who had no other means to access quality health care services.

They said the needy people in Sindh should get health insurance cards, as people in Punjab and Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

Speaking as the chief guest on occasion, Chairman of Higher Education Commission Sindh, Dr Asim Hussain, said that government should give more attention to different fields of health care services.

He said it was unfortunate that health and medical services had remained neglected fields in Pakistan.

He said that getting the best health care services was the fundamental right of every citizen, which should be fulfilled.

He praised the effort of the organisers of the conference to raise awareness about health care issues.

Dr Hussain, who also earlier served as an Adviser to PM, said the industries suffered much due to coronavirus health emergency.

He also eulogised the nationwide efforts to tackle the issue of coronavirus.

He appreciated the services of health care professionals and workers who bravely fought against the spread of coronavirus.

The CAP Chairman Kaukab Iqbal said on the occasion that their association had been striving hard to protect the rights of consumers.

He said the consumer protection act had been passed in all four provinces of the country. He noted that consumer protection departments had been constituted in different institutions.

He said that they had been striving hard to ensure availability of the life-saving drugs in the country as he also acknowledged the role of Dr Asim Hussain in this regard.

Other speakers at the conference included Consul General of Malaysia Khairun Nazran Abdur-Rehman, CEO Dr. Minhaj A. Qidwai, former CEO Sindh Health Care  Commission, Brig (retd) Azhar Manzoor Group Head Corporate Affairs Dr. Zia Uddin Hospital, University, Brig (retd) Malik Waqar Awan C.E.O Memon Medical Institute Hospitals, Brig (retd) Tariq Bungush, Medical Specialist, & Consultant APNA DIYLISIS KOHAT, Mr. Johar Minhal Regional Manager Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Salim Khan, DGM Exide Pakistan. Shahzeeb Sheikh Deputy Director Sindh Food Authority, Former MNA Rehan Hashmi, Molana Azad Jamil.

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