E-DRUG Regulating Private Sector Outlets
Greetings from Pakistan!
Like many of the Asian, African and Latin American countries, all
types of drugs can be freely purchased over-the-counter in Pakistan.
Generally, drug sellers do not demand prescriptions even for the most
specialized products like hormonal preparations, anti-cancer drugs,
intravenous injections etc. not to mention antibiotics, psychotropics
and steroid preparations. Uneven geographical distribution (a great
majority of the retail medical stores clustered around big public and
private hospitals); inappropriate premises; lack of proper drug
storage facilities; untrained sellers who also prescribe and
administer medicines; and no inventory keeping are some of the most
common problems observed with the private retail pharmacy outlets.
More than 80% of all the pharmaceutical products in the country are
sold through these outlets. This makes it a very significant as well
as a mammoth problem.
The Chief Minister of the Punjab, the largest province with 65% of the
country?s population, in a major initiative to curb the issue of
spurious and sub-standard drugs, has formed a taskforce to suggest
ways and measures to the government to overcome the issue. One of the
sub-committee of the taskforce is working on the problems posed by the
retail pharmacy outlets. There is no well kept centralized data
keeping by the health authorities about the operative outlets in the
province. District health officer is the licensing authority and law
requires that only trained person can open a retail medical store.
Problems in the laws, lack of implementation of existing laws, lack of
graduate pharmacists and corruption are the major underlying causes of
the situation. The taskforce through its various sub-committees is
trying to approach and tackle the multidimensional issues.
AS MEMBER OF THE TASKFORCE I REQUEST THE SUBSCRIBERS OF THE E-DRUG
LIST, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING ON THE ABOVE
MENTIONED ISSUES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, TO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES
(POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE) ADVICE / OPINE. IT CAN POSSIBLY BE VERY HELPFUL
TO OUR WORK. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, MORE DETAILS CAN BE PROVIDED.
Thanks in anticipation for you time and contribution!
Dr Zafar Mirza
Member Chief Minister?s Taskforce on Pharmaceuticals in Punjab.
Association for Rational Use of Medication in Pakistan
H.No. 60-A, Str. 39, F-10/4, Islamabad, Pakistan
Ph. 281755; fax: 291552
[Moderators Comment: This request is challenging. What can be done in a
situation where drugs are widely distributed? There are many options but in
very few situations have they been successful. Richard Laing Co-Moderator]
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