LAHORE – Unsafe and dangerous drugs, banned across the globe for causing multiple complications, are doing roaring business in Pakistan with the direct or indirect approval of not only the Health Ministry in Islamabad and the departments in the provinces but also major public sector hospitals, posing threat to the health and even lives of the patients, The Nation has learnt.

These dangerous drugs, banned for causing cancer, hepatitis and heart diseases, are being manufactured and sold freely across Pakistan.

As the Federal Health Ministry is showing least interest in saving lives of patients by banning dangerous drugs, Licensing Board continues to allow more and more multi-national and local pharmaceutical companies to market these drugs across the country.

Multi-national companies, after the other countries shut doors to the business of certain drugs, are dumping banned products in Pakistan while the local firms are taking benefit of cheaper raw material and earning huge profit at the cost of public health and even life. Not only the government functionaries have closed their eyes towards dangerous business but also some so called senior consultants are prescribing globally banned drugs, probably due to lack of updated knowledge or to please all powerful pharmaceutical firms.

Health Ministry keeps on issuing licences to multi-national and local pharmaceutical firms to manufacture and market more and more globally banned formulae (salt) with various brand names.

Health Departments of provinces including Punjab have purchased some banned drugs for providing free to the poor patients. Major public sector hospitals including Services Hospital and Lahore General Hospital have also purchased dangerous drugs, which mean complications among the poor patients in future after unfortunate episode of Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) medicine. 

Punjab Health Department has purchased tab Furazolidone 100mg. Used as antidiarrhoeal, the drug is banned globally for causing cancer among patients.

LGH has purchased tab Nimesulide. The drug, marketed with the names Nise and Nimulid, is used in fever and as pain killer but it has been banned across the globe due to its worst effects on liver.

Services Hospital, the health facility adjacent to presently under focus PIC, has purchased activated charcoal 25 mg, a drug globally banned for causing cancer among patients.  This drug is a form of carbon which is used to treat poisoning. It binds with the poison and prevents it from absorption by gastrointestinal tract. Development of cancer among patients after its use caused other countries including neighbouring India to ban manufacturing and sale of activated charcoal. This drug is still widely used in the country regardless of its worst side effects.

Piprazine, used to get rid off abdominal worms in kids, is globally banned for damaging nerves. As many as 12 companies are selling this drug with different brand names including Biopar, Engpar, Hipar, Irza Par, No-Par, Pipragen, Pexopar, Pipramed, Polypar, Prozine and Wrmazine.

As many as 13 multinational and local pharmaceutical firms are manufacturing and marketing Attapulgite, a formula banned globally for causing fat and nitrogen losses, with different brand names including Arutox, Bantox, Beetox, Detox, Entox-P, Kemypulgite, Neo-Intestopan, Printox, Pulgite, Semotox, Terlox, Unetox-T and Vee-Tox.

Chloral Hydrate, a sedative drug for kids is banned worldwide due to carcinogenic activities, is available in the local market with the brand name Apnotek.

Furazolidone, an antibiotic widely used in Pakistan for controlling dysentery, is banned worldwide for causing arrhythmia and cancer. It is available in the market with brand names Ardizol, Danoxone, Diarrazol, Eatone, Emil, Entroxone, Farmadine, Fulone, Furawid, Furazol, Furazolidone, Furoxone, Proquinol and Sumazone.

Different pharmaceutical firms are manufacturing and selling Gatifloxacin, an antibiotic used for controlling upper and lower respiratory tract infections, with brand names Agat, Florquin, Grayflox, Getif, Getnov, Getwel, Pang It, Yakta and Gaticin. This drug is banned globally for causing hyperglycemia (sudden increase in sugar level).

Halofantrine HCL, anti-malaria, is banned in other countries for disturbing heartbeat. It is freely sold in the market with brand names Halfamed, Halfan and Halrin.

Kaolin – Pectin, used in diarrhoea, is banned worldwide for causing fat and nitrogen losses. This drug is available in the market with brand names Eropectin, Kaltin, Kaolin, Kaotin, Nepectol and Sapotin.

Metronidazole/Furazoladine compound, used to control diarrhoea, is banned globally for causing cancer and irregular heartbeat. Different companies are marketing this compound with brand names Dependal-M, Delzole, Depzole-P, Furamid, Mefudol, Metofur, Metrozole, Nafradol, Rose F.M, Rifuron-M, Tronid-F, Metric F and Truzole.

Nimesulide, used in fever and arthritis, is globally banned for causing liver failure. Despite hepatitis is a serious threat in Pakistan, multinational and local pharmaceutical companies are marketing this dangerous drug with 50 brand names. This drug is freely sold with brand names Amsolide, Analid, Arslide, Artilide, Blunid, Colway, Cox-2, Coxobid, Enim, Exilide, Fensulid, Frendcogen, Geoslide, Gravx, Lemide, Ledoran, Melide, Modact-IR, Muside, Narcogen, Nelsid, Nemsis, Neolide, Nidol, Nimaran, Nimase, Nmbex-100, Nimcox, Nimepan, Nimerol, Nimesota, Nimobid, Nims, Nimsel, Nimside, Nimsulid, Nimvista, Nise, Noach, Nulide, Orina, Orthosulide, Ostesoft, Pensulide, Rakalide, Rheuslide, Slide, Sulide-100, Unix and Wulid.

Nitrofurazone, a drug banned worldwide due to worst side effects, is available in the market with 10 brand names Doldercyn, Furacillin, Furacin, Furaseptic, Furatop, Furazoline, Furazone, Neufrazone, Nobofurazone and Primanitro.

As many as 11 multinational and local firms are manufacturing and selling Rosiglitazone (Maleate), a drug used to lower sugar level, with brand names Avandia, Ornix, Blutab, D-Engrax, Fandia, Mr-2, Pg Min, Rosizone, Rozi, Rozig and Zona-4. This drug is banned globally for causing heart and brain stroke and hepatitis.

Sibotramine, a drug used to reduce weight, is banned worldwide for causing heart and brain stroke. As many as 17 companies are selling this formula with brand names Trimfast, Accent, Butaslim, Getset, Kalgary, Light, Livvel, Merida, Nobese, Obecure, Oberid, Obesib, Reductil, Sibutra, Slimfig, Slimer and Tiamex.

Tegaserod, used to cure irritable bowel syndrome and constipation, is banned globally for causing heart and brain strokes among patients. This drug is sold widely in the market with brand names Lexttor, Serrod, T-Sod and Uniserod.