Drug shortage might lead to health crisis in Pakistan

KARACHI: The fear of medicine shortage is looming large as the pharma industry is facing a number of hurdles including the issue of Letters of Credit (LCs) being faced for the import of raw material, Daily News Publisher reported.

Due to the Shortage of dollars in Pakistan, the pharmaceutical sector is facing LCs issues for the import of raw materials for medicines.

The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PPMA) claimed that no bank was opening the LCs for the import of raw material for medicines from last month, arguing that they were under ‘verbal instructions’ from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) not to open LCs for the import of the pharmaceutical sector.

On the other hand, SBP sources, said there are no restrictions on imports of petroleum and pharmaceutical products. The Governor State Bank has clear instructions not to close LCs for petroleum and pharmaceuticals and compare to October there were more imports in November.

The PPMA said that if the problem of opening LCs are not solved at the earliest, there would be a serious crisis of medicine and medical devices in the country.

Chairman PPMA Syed Farouk Bukhari told ARY news that LCs have been suspended since last month, Banks say that they have verbal instructions from the SBP to stop imports.

He further said that the Bank’s other stance is that all the dollar has gone to the black market, due to which the dollar is short. “SBP assured that the LCs of drugs will not be stopped in any condition,” he added.

In other news, The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) told the Ministry of Health officials that pharmaceutical companies now have only a few weeks of raw material left and the threat of a drug crisis is beginning to hover.

The Federal Ministry of Health wrote a letter to Finance Minister regarding the threat of a drug shortage crisis, saying that if the LCs are not opened for the raw materials of medicines, then citizens have to face the medicine crisis soon. Also, there will be a serious medical device crisis in the country, along with the economic crisis, the crisis of life-saving drugs can also engulf the country.

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