Vital medicine for heart patients short in Punjab markets

Published December 11, 2020
Senior cardiologists and surgeons said the shortage was all over the country and its main reason might be the low price. — AFP/File
Senior cardiologists and surgeons said the shortage was all over the country and its main reason might be the low price. — AFP/File

LAHORE: A vital medicine used for heart-related chest pain (angina) is short in the market across Punjab.

Manufactured by a multinational pharmaceutical company, the life-saving medicine, Angised (0.5mg), was the only available remedy in an emergency. A patient feeling chest pain/heart pain (angina) is suggested to keep it under the tongue to prevent risk to life.

Senior cardiologists and surgeons said the shortage was all over the country and its main reason might be the low price. They held the retailers and distributors responsible for the shortage.

However, there was another opinion that the globally recognised pharmaceutical company had either halted its production or limited it because of some other reasons.

A senior official of the health department while quoting the company said it’s a high-tech medicine that contains explosive materials. “Its manufacturing has been affected due to technical reasons during the Covid-19 period,” he said. On the other hand, The Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) pricing director Amanullah said his department had taken some emergency measures to overcome the shortage.

“We have engaged a local pharmaceutical company to start production of the drug with same formula,” Mr Amanuallah told Dawn.

The medicine was an integral part of the six government cardiac institutes of the province, including the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.

“Angina occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough blood and this medicine works by relaxing and widening blood vessels so blood can flow more easily to the heart,” says Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology Chief Executive Prof Dr Anjum Jalal.

In many cases, he said, once patient lands in emergency, he/she was treated with the same drug to save life before putting him on regular treatment. He told Dawn that apparently the low price of the drug was the basic problem that led to its countrywide shortage. Prof Jalal said many other cardiac medicines were also facing artificial shortage because of the low prices but recently the dearth of Angised disturbed the patients at large.

A senior cardiac surgeon of the Jinnah Hospital Lahore Prof Dr Zubair Akram said its a bad news for the angina patients.”More than 70pc of the cardiac patients visiting our hospitals are suggested this drug, he said.

He said an alternative was available in the market in the form of ‘spray’ that too was short, further limiting the options.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020

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