Pakistani’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association (PPMA) has urged the Prime Minister to take out time from his political commitments and take a decision on the matter of approving the summaries sent to him by Drug Pricing Committee as patients are suffering due to the delay on his end.
Central Chairman of PPMA Dr Kaiser Waheed put forth this demand in a press conference held on Wednesday, July 19 as the approval is still pending by the PM even though the summaries were sent to him last year. Due to this delay from the PM House, the critically ill patients of Hepatitis C and renal failure have to face difficulties in getting the medicines. 100 important medicines have gone short across the country due to this delay in approval of the recommendations by DPC.
Dr. Kaiser was of the point of view that these matters should ideally be dealt by the Drug Regulation Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) rather than seeking approval from the ministry level and the prime ministry. It is to be noted that pharmaceutical industry has previously been demanding the autonomy of the sector.
Speaking about the matter, Dr. Kaiser said:
Simply for such reasons, it has been our consistent demand and also of the entire pharmaceutical industry to grant complete autonomy to DRAP to regulate all the affairs of pharmaceutical sector like any other regulator related to other segments of trade and economy.
The PPMA chairman also added, “We very well know the present pressing preoccupation of the prime minister, but what else we can do, where else we can go and make our demand when critically ill patients of diseases like Hepatitis C and renal failure are suffering immensely due to the shortage of essential medicines.
Dr. Waheed said that due to this delay in the approval by the PM House production and availability of a number of essential medicines, life-saving drugs, new and orphan molecules in Pakistani market has been affected a lot.
Furthermore, he elaborated:
For instance Hepatitis C patients in Pakistan have yet to get access to Daclatasvir a tablet, which contains miraculous-like cure for people suffering from this fatal disease that was earlier considered incurable
Also according to him, the patients suffering from renal failure and those on dialysis need to maintain a required level of amino acids in their bodies but this unavailability of medicines affected the people of state at large.
He also told that press conference that previously a delegation from PPMA met President Mamnoon Hussain and requested him to do something about the matter. Mr Mamnoon was not helpful at all and said that pharmaceutical industry should start manufacturing its own drugs.
Dr. Waheed also raised voice against the panel inspection of the pharma industry which was previously applied on DRAP for introducing new medicines in the country. He said that it would only delay the manufacturing and introduction of new medicines in the country as the so-called panel inspection teams had no idea at all about good manufacturing practices of the pharma industry.
An unjust and illegal system of panel inspection has been imposed on the pharmaceutical industry, which used to apply to the Registration Board of the Drap for introduction of any new medicine in the Pakistani market.
He also claimed that billions of rupees have been lying unused in the Central Research Fund which should be accessible to the industry to do the research for the introduction of new medicines.
Also he added that the bar code system was being introduced which would be a futile exercise as shopkeepers sell a very few tablets on demand of the customers rather than the whole pack.