ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) in a statement has said the recent deaths occurring due to the use of a cough syrup in Lahore reflects the lack of interest of the federal and provincial governments in healthcare.

Earlier this year, the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) drug scandal taking precious lives should have alerted our policymakers on regulation of drugs and more so, on establishing drug testing laboratories in major cities. Yet the cough syrup issue revealed that the country still lacks high tech facilities that can trace out minute impurities, one possible reason for fatalities.

PIMA stressed that the government should first ask its own officials what they have done in the last eight months when a similar case has happened in that very city. It should complete the judicial probe and of course if someone is found guilty, punish them so that no one has the courage to play with people’s lives.

As in this case most of the affected individuals were addicts who mixed this cough syrup with some other stuff to increase its stimulation. Almost all medical stores in the country dispense any medicine including sedatives, tranquilisers and mood stimulants without any prescription, to any one, in any quantity.

PIMA stressed that saving people’s lives requires sincere steps towards strong legislation and their strict implication, judicial probe in such cases, and exemplary punishment of those found guilty. Establishing a just system is more important than few hasty steps taken because of public pressure.