Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Monday that the sale of fake and substandard medicines is increasing in the country. Forty to fifty percent of medicines available in the country are harmful, and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) needs to protect the interests of the masses and genuine businesses, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the masses and businesses have been awaiting any strict action against merchants of death for decades, but to no avail, which amounts to encouraging them.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that according to reports by several important institutions, forty to fifty percent of the medicines available in the country are harmful. Still, nothing is being done to control this menace. He added that last year, the Ministry of Health had said that 85% of the medicines in the country are of substandard quality, which, if considered an exaggeration, indicates the seriousness of the situation.
He noted that the DRAP needed to do better in its duty to save people’s lives and ensure the provision of quality medicines at reasonable prices. Therefore, a major cleanup operation has become necessary to eradicate the drug mafia.
The business leader said that DRAP should be abolished or three separate departments with no relation to each other should be formed. One should register the medicines, the other should monitor their quality, and the third should determine their prices. These departments should have all the necessary equipment and resources to perform their duties as expected.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that ruthless elements are not only poisoning the people of Pakistan for the sake of profit, but fake, substandard, and expired medicines are also being exported to many countries from where complaints are also being received. No such action has been taken against criminals, discouraging them; they should stop playing with people’s lives for profit.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that many times in the country, in case of the death of children or adults, the pharma companies are asked to withdraw their poisonous drugs from the market. Still, it is never known whether these drugs have been destroyed or not, and neither any action has been made public against such companies.
It has not been heard that a company has been delisted, and compensation has been paid to the families of the deceased.
He noted that the illegal pharma mafia has become so influential in Pakistan that due to it, pharma companies doing clean business are badly affected, but no one cares.