Courtesy by: nation.com.pk
KARACHI – The Health Ministry has allowed the import of life-saving drugs from China under the FTA and India as well despite the fact that it will greatly diminish the local drugs market worth of Rs1.5 billion, the Nation has learnt.
It has been learnt that the Health Ministry has refused to stop the imports of finished goods that are not produced in Pakistan like anti-cancer vaccines and thalassemia drugs etc, from China and India although there are clear indications that these drugs are not standardised.
For instant, Interferon, an injection for Hepatitis, which is not produced in Pakistan and available at different prices up to Rs 12,000, is being imported from China. But the issue is that no standard has been set to determine its quality that make the lives of millions Pakistanis so vulnerable.
“Though the import of these drugs are allowed, our main concern is that only those drugs should be allowed to Pakistani market that have been registered at least at 2 places in the big countries of the world,” said Qaiser Waheed, ex-chairman Pharmaceutical Association of Pakistan.
He pointed out that Bangladesh had made it mandatory only those drugs should be imported into the country that were registered in 2 countries of Europe or Japan and Australia. However, in Pakistan, the case is entirely different as no system has been put in place to check these drugs coming from China and India, he wondered.
“It is to be noted that the anti-cancer and antibiotics coming from China are not original and have no certified information that make them standardised,” he disclosed.
However, the Health Ministry is of the opinion that China is a friend of Pakistan and there exists FTA between both the countries, therefore, it is not possible for them to stop the import of such life-saving drugs into Pakistan.
It was learnt that the Ministry is habitual to register drugs at the rate of Rs 15,000 and does not carry out any necessary investigation to make it sure whether the drug is worthwhile to use or not. On the other hand, China takes from Rs 0.7 to 0.8 million to register Pakistani drugs and even then they put a clause that the drug has to be tested in the government laboratories for 4 years to make it available for public there.
Interestingly, the Health Ministry is busy in making random registration at cheap rates without considering the fact that human lives are more precious than money, he added.
The Chinese and Indian products are very cheap due to the fact that industrialists there are provided with free land, free power and money to establish industries, but in Pakistan it is a dream to have free land for establishing any sort of industry.
The Pakistani drug market has potential of billions of rupees in which just 25% share is of imports but through the measures of the Health Ministry it has been cumbersome for Pakistan to cope with such issues of future threats by unregistered imported drugs being spread in the Pakistani market.