LAHORE - Another huge health-care crisis is looming across the country as at least 2 million patients are likely to suffer due to shortage of psychotropic drugs since pharmaceutical companies have not been allocated their raw material quota that is jeopardising production of anti-anxiety and other life saving drugs, says a press release.

Mayo Hospital Professor of Psychiatry Dr Riaz Bhatti, Sanofi Aventis MD Tariq Wajid and Pharma Bureau Executive Director Dr Sadia Moazzam while talking to media at a local hotel here on Thursday said that delay in quota allocation of active narcotic ingredients will result in shortage of drugs such as anti-anxiety, anti-depression, psycholytic drugs, cough and cold syrups.

Tariq Wajid was of the view that failure of Narcotic Control Board to allocate quota of active ingredients to pharmaceutical companies will result in shortage of drugs leading to possible price hike and black marketing of imported substitutes.

Dr Sadia said that according to the rules, the international narcotic control awards quota to Pakistan’s narcotic control board, which then allocates quota to pharmaceutical companies through Health Division (now DRA) before the year start for timely production but it has not been done this year till now, she added. She said that process of import is normally completed by beginning of year but due to chaos after devolution of health sector, the existing staff working under cabinet division is not processing routine work on the pretext of health issues being given to provinces.

Dr Riaz Bhatti said that Incidences of bone and joint disorders and cancers increase with age and aging patients require strong narcotic analgesics to improve their quality of life, adding that if these drugs are not available then physicians have to give patients heavy doses of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) which result in complications like hypertension, renal impairment and gastrointestinal perforations that could lead to death, he warned.