LAHORE - The country’s allopathic medicines market consists of around Rs 132 billion per annum of which 53 percent shareholders are multi-national companies, Rs 1500 million per month can be saved through a proper healthcare system and reviving local pharma companies.

This was stated by renowned pharmacist and Pakistan Pharmacists forum (PPF) leader Noor Mehar Advocate while talking to APP here on Sunday.

When asked how the saving of Rs 1500 million is possible? he said that often, the medicines of local pharma companies prepare at low rate but due to vested interest, some of the physicians prescribe the medicines of multi-national companies which prepare the same medicine in ten time more prices.

He cited a simple pain killer drug (Diclofenae sodium) which is available only at 50 paisa in market prepared by local pharma company while the same medicines prepare the multi-national company at Rs 10 per tablet.

In this way by prescribing medicines prepared by local national companies a handsome amount in million could be saved, he claimed.

Replying a question, he said as per the directions of World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard of one pharmacist for 50 beds public sector hospital trying to meet the criterion.

He said that Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) in Lahore and Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi had the required strength of pharmacists.

Responding to a question about the role of a pharmacist in a healthcare establishment, he said its a pharmacist who prescribed the quantity and quality of medicines to a patient.

Due to the vacant posts and absence of pharmacists role in purchasing and medication, multi-national companies dominate in the medication system through their influence on doctors. He asked why medicines of national pharmaceutical companies were not prescribed for patients? Mostly prescribed medicines are unnecessary but there is no check and balance on prescription, he claimed.

Over 2,700 pharmacists pass out every year and over 15,000 pharmacists are required for jobs including 10,000 in Punjab while most posts of pharmacists are vacant in the hospitals, he added.