My father is a cardiac patient and I’m frequently purchasing medicines on his behalf. As I visited a nearby pharmacy to purchase one of his routine medication, I found out that it’s not currently available in the market. On inquiring, I found out that a number of pharmacies have simply stopped producing lifesaving medicines due to the irrational pricing set by the government and regulators.

Adding to this revelation, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) have also announced that they will have no other option but to increase prices by next month if a decision is not made to provide relief to drug manufacturers. This update is indeed alarming, if not tragic because in the entire debacle the voice of the main stakeholder i.e. the patient is completely neglected. Patients have nowhere to look up to as they are crushed under the burden of unavailability of medicines and un affordable rates.

A program by a Swiss based pharmaceutical acts as some relief to the neglected patients. This program is geared towards curbing the growing menace of Non-Communicable diseases in Pakistan. In order to make it sustainable and affordable, medicines are priced at only USD 1 per month per treatment. Although the current debate spirals around pricing of medicines and affordability, it is indeed appalling that an initiative like this which provides substantial savings to the Government, has not been launched as yet by the health authorities.

MUHAMMAD MANSOOR ABBAS,

Karachi, December 11.