LAHORE - Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, pharmacists, whole sellers and retailers have demanded withdrawal of amendments to the Drug Act and DRAP Act, saying it was impossible for them to continue business in atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Wednesday, Senior Vice Chairman PPMA Mansoor Dilawar warned the government of strong protest and strike if draconian amendments were not withdrawn.

President PPMA North Region (Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa) Ijaz Siddiqi, Amjab Jawa, Dr Khalid, Muzammal Saeed and representatives of pharmacists, whole sellers and retailers were also present.

The Punjab government has recently promulgated Ordinance, bringing amendments in Drug Act and DRAP Act. The changes have given extra ordinary powers to drug inspectors, imprisonment for pharma companies owners for selling substandard drugs. After recent amendments, substandard and spurious drugs will fall in the same category.

Mansoor Dilawar said that registered pharmaceutical companies and those manufacturing fake and spurious drugs should not be given same treatment.

“Local pharmaceutical companies are meeting 90 per cent of the drug requirements in the country. Licensed firms manufacturing registered drugs should be governed by the same law in practice in developed countries. Giving registered firms and those doing business of spurious drugs same treatment is unjustified and against all norms of justice. Giving drug inspectors powers to prosecute and give verdict is injustice,” Mansoor Dilawar said, adding, it was not possible for registered firms to continue business under these circumstances. He urged the Chief Minister to intervene and withdraw the Ordinance.

Earlier, around 300 manufacturers, pharmacists, whole sellers and retailers gathered outside the LPC to protest against amendment in Drug Act and DRAP Act.

Carrying placards and banners inscribed with the demand of withdrawal of amendments, the participants chanted slogans against the government. The protest caused massive traffic jam on adjoining roads for couple of hours.

Earlier, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has rejected amendments to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Act (DRAP), 2012 and Drug Act 1976. They had announced to launch a series of protest against the amended act while they had already started closing industrial units across the province.

PPMA former vice chairman Kh Shahzeb Akram talking to The Nation said that more than 70 per cent industry out of total 260 pharma units had been closed in protest.