More than 60 medicinal products classified as’ essential medicinal products’ by the World Health Organization can not or do not exist on the market in Pakistan due to price problems, delays in purchase of controlled raw materials or international alerts to stop using medicinal products.
Pharmaceutical producers also said some of the medicines are not available because they can not afford to manufacture them at the prices set by the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority (Drap).
Drap has stated that the Essential and Short Medicines Availability Committee (CAESM) has been established to ensure the availability of medicines. Membership includes stakeholders such as the Pharma Bureau and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (PPMA).
The list of more than 350 essential drugs produced by WHO is bound to be implemented by Pakistan. This was first published in 1994 and over the years has been regularly revised. Many of the medications on this list are however not on the market.
Pricing issues, delays in approval for controlled substances among reasons behind shortage
The price issues have resulted in the absence of atropine injections, which are provided to reduce mucus secretions and regular heartbeats before anaesthesia, as well as medicarpine eye drops, which are used for glaucoma.