Worldwide spurious medicine business stands at $ 490 bln: Senate told

251

ISLAMABAD, Nov 3 (APP): Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch on Tuesday informed the Senate that spurious and sub standard business of medicine worldwide stood at US$ 490 billion in which Pakistan’s share was mere Rs 4 billion.Concluding discussion on adjournment motion moved by Shahi Syed regarding production of spurious and substandard medicines in the country and export thereof, the minister said, India, Egypt and few other countries in the region ranked first in business of spurious medicines while Pakistan remained at the bottom.He said that 32,000 samples of medicines were collected for analysis, out of which, two percent were sub-standard while 0.45 percent was spurious, he added.He said after the 18th amendment, drug regulatory authority has devolved to the provinces and it was the responsibility of provincial and local governments to keep check on production and sale of spurious and sub-standard medicines.He said the government would take every possible steps to stop production of spurious drugs and sub standard medicines and welcome suggestions in this regard.He said that it was high time to give more importance to the issue like energy shortage and law and order situation.He also urged the media to play its rule to create awareness among the people about the spurious and substandard medicines.Earlier, opening discussion on the motion, Shahi Syed of Awami National Party (ANP) said around 10,000 factories were manufacturing spurious and substandard medicines in the country and the markets were flooded with such medicines which were injurious to the health.He alleged that no modern laborites were present in the country to examine spurious drugs and drug inspectors were involved in taking bribe. He called for a proper and effective legislation to stop this practice.Usman Kakar of Pukhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party said that such spurious medicines were available at every union council level and in all medical stores of the country.He alleged that even the multi national pharmaceutical companies were making substandard medicines. The standard of medicines was also very low as compared to the countries, he added.He said the government should work on emergency basis to stop production of such drugs in the country besides awarding exemplary punishment to those who were involved in such business.Senator Attiq of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said Drug Regularity Authority (DRA) has become a din of corruption and the officials deputed there were earning million of rupees.He said that no survey was carried out during the last 20 years to check substandard medicines. However, he said Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry was exporting medicines to around 40 countries. The industry worth Rs 250 billion was also providing jobs opportunities to hundred of thousands of people, he added.He said it might be a plot against our pharmaceutical industry by other countries which want to export their medicines.He suggested that the issue should be referred to the committee for detailed deliberation.Azam Swati, Karim Ahamd Khawaja, Robina Irfan, Javed Abbasi, Dr Jahanzeb and Mushahidullah Khan also asked for taking concrete steps to stop the production of spurious and substandard medicines. They also called for referring the matter to the standing committee for devising proper mechanism in this regard.