As a concerned citizen and a caregiver to patients suffering from critical ailments, I have been following the media reports related to the proceedings in Islamabad before the Supreme Court (SC) held on February 27 & 28, 2018, related to the two Human Rights cases dating back to 2006 & 2009.
It was very disappointing for me to note that while SC granted a hearing to the regulator and the pharma companies, it completely omitted the voice of the common patients in Pakistan. The proceedings appeared merely like a circus; regulators and pharma companies blaming each other for the current state of national health in Pakistan.
The Supreme Court allowed the narrative to be relegated to prices of medicines rather than access to quality medicines (and control on the widespread availability of spurious/fake medicines), which was the main issue framed in the original Human Rights cases pending in SC.
In Pakistan, regulators are taking 3-5 years to approve the sale of new medicines, which is already thoroughly regulated for 8-10 years by professional regulators of developed countries. The question remains that what additional value is Pakistan adding? In the meantime, who is responsible for denying Pakistani patients access to new & improved therapies? Who is responsible for denying patients suffering from fatal illnesses?
I am disappointed at the way the whole debate was allowed by SC to digress from a Human Rights issue to merely drug pricing, maybe the honorable judges were too busy in more pressing issues than the concerns of the common citizens of this country.
-A concerned citizen!
Karachi, March 14.