KARACHI: Sindh health authorities have asked a multinational pharmaceutical company for details about 48 million paracetamol tablets seized during an official raid on its warehouse last week, seeking the stocks production timelines, invoices to prove their buyers and reason behind its storage in such a huge quantity when the product is hardly available across the country.

Paracetamol is a common over-the-counter painkiller, which has recently disappeared from pharmacies amid rising malaria and dengue cases across the country.

In a notice issued under Section 21 of the Drugs Act 1976 from the chief drug inspector’s office of the Sindh health department to the producers and suppliers of Panadol, seven days were given to answer the questions.

The health authorities last week claimed to have seized more than 48 million Panadol tablets during the raid on the company warehouse on Hawkesbay Road, suspecting it a case of hoarding to create an artificial shortage in the country as the industry seeks price hikes of drugs.

However, the industry and the company insisted that the move described as hoarding by the authorities was nothing but a “normal course of business”.

“We can confirm the recent news about the raid on one of our warehouses,” GSK said in a statement.

“We firmly reject the claims related to hoarding Panadol intentionally to create a shortage. The stocks at this warehouse were intended to be released and distributed in the country in the normal course of business.”

However, the matter is seen as unresolved as the health department is seeking answers of several questions.

“Therefore you are herein required to produce bill/invoice with warranty of detained stocks on prescribed form-2A dated 15-09-2022 and disclose the name, complete address and other particulars of the manufacturer or other person from whom you had acquired/purchased drug in question and disclosed the period that since how long the stocks of drug in question were lying at your premises with complete plan of dispatch (if any), also produce authority letter issued in your favor by the market authorisation holder for issuing warranty on their behalf within 07 days of receipt of this letter,” said the notice.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2022

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