LAHORE – In a country where pharma industry produces around half of its production fake and where almost all types of forged medicines are being sold openly and without any restrictions, the pharma industry representatives have called for withdrawal of case against Reko Pharmacal and end to harassment of distributors, following deaths of more than four dozens people due to poisonous syrup.

Experts said that WHO has ranked Pakistan in top 13th countries in the world where fake or substandard medicines are being sold in open market. It is estimated that such drugs are 40 percent in Pakistan, posing a serious threat to human health. These spurious drugs, the WHO said, are produced in factories in almost all big cities across the country. Pharma manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and chemists on Thursday, addressing a press conference, demanded of the Punjab government to make public Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) Report into the cough syrup issue without any further delay. Hundreds of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and chemists met here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar presided over the meeting while Chairman PPMA North Saleem Iqbal, Convener LCCI Standing Committee on Pharmaceutical industry Khawaja Shahzeb Akram and former PPMA Chairman North Amjad Ali Jawa were prominent among the speakers.

They said that they were unable to understand the logic behind registration of murder case against a licenced pharmaceutical manufacturer in the presence of Drug Act 1976 that specifically deals with the manufacturing and sale of medicines. Elaborating the point, they said that under the Drug Act 1976, the manufacturing of drugs is controlled by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) that is working well at Federal level.

“Drug Regulatory Authority at the Federal level is well in place and it has jurisdiction to initiate action in case of any eventuality relating to pharmaceutical industry.” They said that arrests of distributors and wholesalers do not make sense as these people are not selling products of any single company but generally distribute products of 15 to 20 companies.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the entire trade and industry is worried over the situation being faced by the pharmaceutical industry as it is not the pharma people alone but there is a whole chain that deals with the medicines. He said that pharmaceutical manufacturers had already appealed to government to initiate judicial enquiry into the whole issue to fix responsibility.

Farooq Iftikhar said that billions dollar pharmaceutical industry is being subjected to embarrassment and sending wrong signal to the outer world thus adversely affecting exports of medicines. Speaking on the occasion, Khawaja Shahzeb Akram and Amjad Ali Jawa called for immediate registration of all Herbal, Homeopathic and Ayurvedic medicine manufacturers because they are major source of spurious drugs in the country.

They said that the manufacturing of spurious drugs by a licenced manufacturer having an investment of Rs 20 million on average is out of question.