LAHORE – Various lifesaving drugs, manufactured by multinational as well as local pharmaceutical companies, have disappeared from the market, posing serious threat to the health and even lives of patients. Several essential medicines, majority of them lifesaving, are not available at medical stores across the province including Lahore, multiplying the woes of the patients as there is hardly any substitute for these drugs. In case of availability of any substitute of a drug, it is not being prescribed as physicians have little or even no confidence. Besides that, prices of alternative drugs are much higher as compared to the original and tested medicines that are commonly known as orphan drugs in medical community. Essential drugs including Thyroxine, Angised, Zyloric, Migril, Erythrocin, Lanoxin, Cafergort, Disprin, Sancos, Adalat Ret, Actifed P/DM, Polyfax, Delax, Cofcol, Dormicum, Lexotanil and Relaxin have gone missing from shelves at pharmacies. These essential drugs are not available at medicine market at Lohari and medical stores including outlets of all leading chain of pharmacies. Lives of heart patients are at high risk as Lanoxin and Angised, drugs that helps controlling heartbeat are not available in the market. Thyroxine is an important drug in the management of thyroid hormone deficiency, Zyloric in treating Arthritis, Migril and Cafergort for acute migraine attack, Adalat Ret for uncontrolled hypertension, Lexotanil and Relaxin for anxiety, Sancos for cough, Disprin for pain, Panadol for fever and headache, Acifed P/DM for flu and Polyfax for eye infection. Really cheap and effective antibiotic Erythrocin is used in pneumonia. Its alternative drugs are not that effective and their prices are many times more than Erythrocin. Senior doctors, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government officials gave varying reasons of unavailability of essential drugs. Medical community believes that absence of proper mechanism to safeguard the interests of the suffering humanity is the reason behind the regular shortage of orphan drugs. Multinational companies pay no attention to meet the requirements of the patients as prices of these medicines are low and there is little profit margin. Multinational companies supply less medicines as there is little profit margin. They prefer manufacturing and selling other profit-oriented medicines to earn more money. Local companies also show least interest in manufacturing these drugs due to the same reason. The community urged the government to negotiate with companies, give them realistic profit margin on these drugs and ensure proper monitoring in the larger interest of the patients. Retailers say that lifesaving drugs are not available as multinational and local manufacturing companies are not supplying these in the required quantity. They say that huge demand and less supply also encouraged hoarding and profiteering which is a criminal act. As per Drugs Act 1976, if a pharmaceutical company did not manufacture a drug in required quality and sufficient quantity to meet the requirements of the patients, the government could cancel the registration and prosecute the responsible. As such multinational and national pharmaceutical companies are bound to produce sufficient quantity of medicines to ensure regular and adequate supply in the market but it is not happening.