Under attack from diseases, IDPs stranded in flooded areas without Paracetamol

International donors asked to provide medicine for patients in flood hit areas, says Secretary Health
Sep 22, 2022

Millions of people who are trapped in flooded-hit areas of the country are facing an onslaught from several diseases but are forced to combat them without the first-line treatment drug Paracetamol.

This was disclosed during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Health in the National Assembly on Thursday.

The committee took up the health of flood survivors on Thursday. The federal health secretary said that they were facing a shortage of key medicines in flood-hit areas, particularly Paracetamol, which is already facing a nationwide shortage.

He added that international donors have also been requested to provide stocks of paracetamol due to a domestic shortage.

The committee was told that the shortage has come at a time when people in flood-hit areas are facing an onslaught of diseases including dengue and malaria.

This information resulted in a heated debate in the committee meeting.

Committee member Dr Shazia Sobia said that due to vested interests some people are using the pretext of shortage and floods to increase the price of basic necessities.

“Dengue is spreading fast in flood-hit areas and there is an artificial shortage of medicines,” she said, adding that profiteering was making essential medicine too dear for the people.

Another committee member Zahra Wadood Fatemi made an unusual demand during the committee meeting.

“Is there someone who can provide the tablets,” she asked, adding, “I also have three patients at home.”

Another member said that when international donors provide the tablets, it will be too late.

The committee was informed that pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the tablets have requested an increase in the price of paracetamol. However, the request had not been approved by the federal cabinet.

Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Chief Executive Officer told the committee that punitive action has been initiated against the concerned.

Health ministry’s special secretary told the committee that they are closely monitoring the supply of medicines in the market, especially in the flood-hit areas.

He added that the government has already received an ample supply of paracetamol as part of relief sent by foreign governments.

Later, the committee asked DRAP to give an detailed briefing on the shortage medicines in the next meeting.

The committee also expressed its annoyance on the continued absence of the federal health minister and secretary from the committee’s meetings.

Floods 2022

paracetamol

federal health minister

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