“Smuggled Medicine Surge: Consistent Shortages Unleash Torrent of Illicit Pharmaceuticals”

the hardship category.

The PPMA chairman said the committee also carried out a market survey in five major cities and found that many drugs were not freely available in the market and some drugs were being sold in black market at prices much higher than approved ones.

“Yet, the caretaker health minister opposed his own ministry’s findings and went against the recommendations of all provinces, again opposing any approval of hardship prices,” Mr Rehman lamented.

As a result, the drugs’ shortage crisis hit the country hard, inevitably leading to worsening health statistics and leaving the patients exposed to smuggled, spurious and potentially counterfeit drugs and price gouging in the black market, the PPMA chairman said.

Federal caretaker health minister Nadeem Jan attributed the inordinate delay to the procedural matters because of involvement of many stakeholders concerned, including the ministry of health’s cabinet.

“We wanted to incentivise the hardship cases, keeping in view the stakes of both public as well as pharmaceutical firms,” he said.

To a question, he replied that it was the responsibility of DRAP to conduct raids and stop the sale of imported medicines in the country’s black market.

The drug inspectors should take action against spurious and substandard drugs, he said and added that he would try his best to take a final decision on the 262 hardship cases pending approval with the cabinet during caretaker setup.

DRAP CEO Asim Rauf refused to comment on the issue when this reporter called him and sent WhatsApp messages to ask for his version.

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