Drug Shortage – Latest News – The Nation
Rising import prices for pharmaceutical raw materials and the resulting increase in production costs have begun to be reflected in shortages of several essential drugs used to treat life-threatening illnesses and mental illnesses. Reports say at least 40 drugs have disappeared from shelves in different parts of the country in recent weeks because most producers have stopped importing expensive ingredients due to the regulator’s refusal to raise retail prices for their products. finished. Drug pricing in the country has always been a politically charged topic and over-regulation by authorities is clearly not working as intended and putting vulnerable populations across the country at risk.
Many are of the view that this is just the beginning and that market participants anticipate further shortages if the price structure is not revised. This crisis had been brewing for some time as industry margins continued to shrink due to rising production costs. The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has yet to resolve the current shortage which disproportionately affects patients who are forced to reduce their daily doses or pay a much higher price to procure these drugs on black market.
Shortages have occurred several times in the past and experts believe that excessive regulation inhibits the industry’s growth and export potential, in addition to scaring away foreign investment. This needs to change considering how other countries in the region have also successfully taken deregulatory steps which have had a positive impact on industry incentive structures.
At the same time, innovative approaches should be sought to protect vulnerable groups who should have access to free or subsidized essential medicines. Senior health experts have also expressed concern over acute drug shortages and rising prices, saying the crisis could be very disastrous for the poor. Skyrocketing inflation has already weighed heavily on disadvantaged segments of society and this crisis will only add to their misery. The government needs to step in early to address pricing structure issues and ensure easy access to medicines for those who need them most.