Health crisis looms in Lahore as essential medicines vanish from market

lahore medicine shortage

LAHORE: In Lahore, a critical shortage of widely-used essential medicines has emerged, posing a significant threat to the well-being and lives of patients.

The unavailability of crucial and life-saving drugs on the market is affecting the general population, which now faces heightened prices for alternative research molecules.

Shockingly, over 40 per cent of drugs listed as essential by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are currently missing from the market.

Various renowned brands such as metronidazole, amoxicillin, Septran, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, enoxaparin sodium, clindamycin, pyodine, dexamethasone, anti-TB preparations, insulin, and medical imaging injections are notably absent from both wholesale medicine markets and leading pharmacy chains in Lahore.

Experts in pharmacy suspect that pharmaceutical companies deliberately engineered this shortage as a tactic to compel the government to raise prices.

Although substitutes for popular brand medicines do exist, their availability is overshadowed by the absence of the preferred options.

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According to The News, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) presents its rationale for the crisis. Mian Khalid Misbah, the central chairman of the PPMA, addressed journalists, attributing the situation to a substantial increase in the cost of doing business.

Factors such as a historical surge in the exchange rate, inflation, wages, and electricity and gas tariffs have collectively escalated operational expenses for pharmaceutical companies.

Misbah highlighted the minimal profit margins for essential drugs for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy.

He advocated for an immediate revision of drug prices to ensure realistic and reasonable profit margins for manufacturers, dealers, wholesalers, and retailers alike.

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