A DIVERSIFIED scientific work has helped medical and pharmaceutical fields to expand their scope of application.
Finding of a new procedure for surgery from invasive to non-invasive in the medical field has helped needy sufferers to do away with abnormalities and dysfunctional viscera.
Similarly, scientific advancement in the pharmaceutical field has led to the discovery of highly effective and highly-targeted drugs, administered with most acceptable pharmaceutical drug delivery systems.
But increasing exploration of new physiological complications and subsequent manufacturing of new drugs have increased the potential risk of drug-related side-effects, as well as adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
Here lies a huge responsibility on the shoulders of healthcare professionals such as physicians and specialists, but more on pharmacists.
I specified pharmacists because they have extensive knowledge related to drug manufacturing, their safe handling, transportation and optimised storage in hospital.
Pharmacists have professional degrees justifying their knowledge of drug chemistry, drug-drug interactions, ADRs and also how to counter these effects with antagonists or antidotes.
Every day we encounter many cases of ADRs resulting in deaths of patients collapsing into a coma, miscarriages, infants and maternal deaths, early-age retardation and much more.
Physicians and pharmacists need to establish a trustworthy professional bond to share their expertise to minimise risks of drug-related interactions to raise the quality of life.
Federal and provincial health ministries need to implement the international health practices in hospitals which allow physicians and pharmacists to work in collaboration.
Increased risks of drug interactions due to polypharmacy, which is inevitable for patients with multiple or chronic diseases, can also be minimised by imposing a ban on medical stores through legislation and improving checks on pharmacies via drug inspectors.
It is mandatory for every pharmacy to make sure the presence of at least one pharmacist who can identify any prescription error and correct it in consultation with the relevant physician.
This practice is obligatory in western countries, and if implemented in Pakistan, it would create a huge difference from what is being experienced today in the healthcare system.
DR ZAIB ALI SHAHERYAR Lahore
Exploiting hepatitis patients
I AM submitting this appeal in the wider public interest on behalf of the working class people of this society.
I am a trade unionist and a social activist holding free medical camps in marginalised segments of localities, including scanning of hepatitis patients.
That one of the hepatitis injections, Pegasys 180mg of Roche Pakistan, normally prescribed by doctors, is being sold at different prices, ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs13,000 by pharmacies, medical stores and doctors. This is detrimental to the working class.
The maximum price printed on the injection is Rs13,000 but the pharmaceutical company concerned has offered 50 per cent discount to patients without changing the printed MRP on the pack.
The advantage of this ambiguity of listed price and discounted price is being taken only by doctors and medical stores.
The innocence of hapless patients is being exploited as doctors and pharmacies are selling these injections on their whims and choice.
The government of Punjab was requested to regulate the prices but, as usual, the bureaucracy issued a letter to all drug inspectors to monitor the prices of the said injection.
Nothing positive happened due to an unholy alliance between the drug mafia, regulators and doctors.
Being an activist, I will not request the Chief Justice to take suo motu action but to the political government to come to the rescue of poor patients who are already on the brink of collapse.
NAZIR KHAN Khushab