Pakistan confronts yet another major crisis


ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan grapples with severe inflation, the general public is now facing shortages of several essential medicines on a daily basis. The scarcity includes vital medicines adding to the distress of citizens already burdened by skyrocketing prices.

In recent times, the shortage of medicines became more pronounced, even though the government had previously lifted restrictions on imports based on revenues. Despite the lifting of import restrictions now, various medicines have suddenly vanished from the market.

Maham Ali, a resident of Lahore, suffers from diabetes and relies on the continuous use of the medication Glucophage. However, the medicine has become unavailable to her recently.

Ali lamented, “I am a type 2 diabetes patient and regularly take medication. For the past week, I’ve been unable to find this medication at various medical stores. I’ve been searching all over the city and asking relatives for weeks, but now this medicine seems to be completely unavailable. Even when I go to medical store owners, they tell me it’s not available from their suppliers.”

She further explained that an alternative medicine for Glucophage was also available before but has also become scarce now.

The issue isn’t limited to Maham Ali. Muhammad Azaj, a heart patient from Faisalabad, is struggling to find a medication related to heart issues. He expressed his frustration, “Whenever I visit a pharmacy, I’m told that this medication is short. We asked our acquaintances in Lahore, but they reported the same issue. This medicine shortage is concerning.”

This situation is being experienced by many in the country, with an estimated 150 such medicines currently unavailable in the market. The reasons behind the medicine shortage are multifaceted, as highlighted by Muhammad Farooq, owner of a major medical store chain.

Farooq pointed out that the discontinuation of many major distributor companies providing multinational pharmaceutical products has led to this shortage. He also highlighted the fluctuating value of the dollar and its instability in Pakistan as a significant factor.

Importers are facing losses due to fluctuating rates, forcing them to change the rates after making an order, he said.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital lacks life-saving medicine

Asim Jameel, leader of the Chemist and Druggist Association, emphasised that the crisis must be addressed on an urgent basis, or the situation could worsen in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is also grappling with the medicine shortage. The unavailability of daily use medications from the market is causing distress among the public.

According to Asim Jameel, the increasing cost of the dollar has led to a continuous rise in the prices of imported medicines. Local prices have remained stable, which has discouraged importers from bringing in medications.

He further stated, “At the moment, various vaccines, anesthesia drugs, medications for kidney ailments, and cancer treatments are facing shortages, and these medicines are not available in the country.”

Asim Jameel urged the government to urgently address this issue, warning that if immediate attention is not given, the crisis could escalate further in the coming days.

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