Medical store owners around the Punjab province have agreed to end their strike after holding successful talks with the government on Wednesday.
The strike although short-lived proved to be worthwhile, at least for the store owners/pharmaceuticals. Minister of law Rana Sanaullah said at a press conference with representatives from different pharmaceutical companies that a committee has been formed to handle amendments to the Drug Act 1976 so that all parties reach a compromise.
He also announced that an agreement has been reached between the pharma representatives and the government. The companies have agreed to support the government’s campaign against fake/counterfeit drugs. Health Minister, Khawaja Salman Rafique added,
We want to eliminate fake drugs from Punjab. It is our responsibility to ensure provision of quality medicines to people.
According to Mr. Sanaullah, the government has held talks with the pharmaceutical company representatives earlier as well saying that they often negotiate over billing matters with the stakeholders.
The pharmacies and medical store owners went on strike against the Punjab government on Monday demanding an amendment in the Drugs Act 1976. According to the store owners and pharmacies, the law was too harsh in that small offences were punished heavily by rescinding licenses or sealing up the store completely.
They were threatening to migrate to different countries if the laws did not favor them.
Chemist Association Cooperating With The Government
Pakistan Chemist Association was dissuaded from joining the protest by the government and the association extended full cooperation towards the government as well.
Chairman of the association, Ishaq Mayo said that they will back the government’s decision on taking strict action against the sale of substandard drugs and medicine and against the chemists or medical stores that sell life saving medicine to drug addicts.
He did agree that the government should take action against the stores depending on the nature of the violation instead of dishing out punitive penalties left and right, shutting down stores and suspending their licenses.