Lahore, March 29, 2014: The unprecedented run over of prices of staple food, only source of energy to carry the burden life by poor, further exacerbated by the rising prices of medicines is surely going to reduce the life expectancy of in large member of poor who have already been living on the edge and teetering, said Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo in a statement issued from the Party Secretariat.
He added that unprecedented price hike of the items of the poor man use making their lives like hanging by a thread.
He observed that more than 30% surge in the life saving drugs in the recent past was like a death knell for the poorest of the poor who cannot even afford less expensive medicines of simple fever not to speak of buying life saving drugs which were indeed out of reach of the middle and lower middle class as well.
He expressed his disappointment over the Federal Government and its apathy because the Prime Minister issued a directive in November last year directing the concerned authorities to ensure that drug prices remain constant. The unbridled pharmaceutical companies could not be stopped in squeezing the poor dry, he maintained.
He observed that the Prime Minister should honour his commitment to the people of Pakistan in the health sector and exhibit the courage to twist arm of those who were notorious for grabbing the hard earned money of the people indiscriminately at their whims by raising the prices unilaterally on one pretext or other. What the Health Regulatory Authorities are doing, he questioned.
He pointed out that in neighbouring country, India , medicines were much cheaper because the government put it foot down and forced the pharmaceutical companies to reduce the margin of profit substantially in public interest.
He also mentioned that India had been exporting medicines worth billion of dollars used for the treatment of chronic diseases like cancer, HIVs etc and the quality and efficacy of the medicines were not second to non but cheap many times. The country has ensured the affordability of medicines to domestic population at reasonable rates, he stated.
He suggested to the government that the government should contemplate the reintroduction of the medicines under generic names as was done during Shaheed Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto time despite fierce opposition of the powerful lobby. The net result was the prices of medicines busted in favour of the poor, he added.
(By Akram Shaheedi)