LAHORE Crisis after crisis has become an unending headache for the citizens. The fresh one for them that various lifesaving drugs, manufactured by multinational as well as local pharmaceutical companies, have disappeared from pharmacies. Several essential medicines, majority of them lifesaving, are not available at medical stores across the province, multiplying the woes of the patients as there was hardly any substitute of these drugs. ISeveral essential medicines, majority of them lifesaving, are not available at medical stores across the province including the City, multiplying the woes of patients as there was hardly any substitute of these drugs. In case of availability of any substitute of a drug, it is not being prescribed as medics have little or even no confidence. Senior doctors, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government officials gave varying reasons of unavailability of essential drugs. Essential drugs including Aldomet, Thyroxine, Angised, Isoptin, Solucortef, Digoxine, Deltacoreil, Rivotril, Zyloric, Avil, Piriton, Migril, Roaeutane, Actifed DM, Unicap M and T, Restoril and Xanax as well as Ventolin and Ventide solution/inhaler and various others 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. Unavailability of effective and cheap Ventolin tablets, solutions and inhalers have made the lives of the poor Asthma patients miserable in suffocating muggy weather. Lives of heart patients are at high risk as important injection Isoptin that helps controlling arrhythmia, abnormal heartbeat, is also not available in the market. Thyroxine is an important drug in the management of thyroid hormone deficiency. Similarly, Solucortef cures variety of oral diseases, Digoxine is necessary medicine for heart patients, Angised for prevention of Angina, Deltacorteil for a variety of diseases including Rheumatic disorder and respiratory malfunctioning, Rivotril controls most critical forms of epilepsy in infants and adults, Zyloric in treating Arthritis, Avil for nosal congestion and allergic rhinitis, Piriton for hay fever, food allergy and insects bites, Migril for the treatment of acute migraine attack and Aldomet for treating high blood pressure, especially among pregnant women. Talking to TheNation, Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Prof Dr Javed Akram said that shortage of these lifesaving and essential drugs was a routine as there was no proper mechanism to safeguard the interests of the suffering humanity. He said that there was no substitute of orphan drugs. Referring to the reasons of unavailability of important drugs, he said that the multinational companies pay no attention to meet the requirements of the patients as prices of these medicines were low and there was little profit margin. Prices of these medicines have not been revised for the over last 11 years. Multinational companies supply less medicines as there is little profit margin. They preferred 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, Prof Javed Akram said. He said the government should negotiate with companies, give realistic profit margin on these drugs and ensure proper monitoring in the larger interest of the patients. He said that the government was not taking courageous decision in this regard. Chemists and Retailers Association President Ishaq Meo said that lifesaving drugs were not available in the market as multinational and local manufacturing companies were not supplying these in the required quantity. He stressed upon the government to allow marketing of drugs with generic names instead of the registered names of these drugs. He said that the medics prescribe these medicines and patients insist on getting the same ones with the perception that these were more effective. There is no quality issue as same salt composition will give same results, he insisted. He said that huge demand and less supply also encouraged hoarding and profiteering which was a criminal act. He said that 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. He said that multinational and national pharmaceutical companies were bound to produce sufficient quantity of medicines to ensure regular and adequate supply in the market. Meo said that it was a pity that instead of fulfilling the responsibility of ensuring provision of necessary medicines in the required quantity, the government functionaries were confined to checking of medical stores only.