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[e-drug] 115 brands of 32 essential drugs missing in the market

E-drug: 115 brands of 32 essential drugs missing in the market 
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115 brands of 32 essential drugs missing in the market 
Daily Dawn, 27 June 2003

ISLAMABAD, 26 June: Out of a total of 455 drugs listed in the
National Essential Drugs List, 115 different brands of 32 essential
medicines are persistently missing from the market, claimed a
survey on non-availability of essential drugs in Pakistan. 

The survey conducted by TheNetwork for Consumer Protection
from January to march 2003 showed that 50 pharmaceutical
companies, of which 13 were multinational and 37 local, were
responsible for the shortages of these essential drugs. 

The report has divided these missing essential drugs into 14 major
therapeutic classes and said 11 of the 32 generics had single
registered brand only in the market. It said the non-availability of
these drugs was contributing to the sufferings of the patients, who
were poor and marginalized. 

The survey said the response of the health ministry on this issue
had been too cold and ad hoc measures had been taken to
address the problem. 

The report focuses on the non-availability of essential drugs in the
market, saying the health ministry and the manufacturers were
bound by the Drugs Act 1976 to make these missing essential
drugs available in the country. 

The report pointed out several factors involved in the
non-availability of drugs like low profitability for the manufacturers,
black marketing tactics, merger of pharmaceutical industries and
change in marketing strategy of the company, low price of the
product and shifting of manufacturing plant.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) essential drugs
are those deemed scientifically to be the most effective, safe,
economic and cover the needs of a majority of the population. 

The survey for data collection on essential drugs was carried out in
February and their availability had been checked at 23 different
points in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta and
Peshawar. 

Of the 455 drugs listed in the current National Essential drugs list
(2001), the survey showed that 32 medicines (generics) were
either not available or were persistently short in supply in the
market. About brand wise availability of these brands, the survey
showed that 34.49 percent of them were available, 19.90 per cent
short and 29.63 percent were not available.

Azhar Hussain
Project Coordinator - Pharmaceuticals
40-A Ramzan Plaza, G-9 markaz,
Islamabad, Pakistan 
Email: azhar@thenetwork.org.pk
Site: www.thenetwork.org.pk
Tel # 2261085 Ext 243
Fax # 2262495
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