NA body orders action over paracetamol shortage

Published September 23, 2022
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Health Services met on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: NA Twitter
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Health Services met on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: NA Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Thursday directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) to ensure an ample supply of paracetamol and anti-snake venom throughout the country, especially in the flood-affected areas.

The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Dr Muhammad Afzal Khan, ordered action against all those who were either involved in hoarding the drug or discontinuing its production, resulting in its shortage across Pakistan amid disastrous floods and dengue outbreak.

Drap Chief Executive Officer Dr Asim Rauf apprised the standing committee that punitive action had been initiated against the concerned stakeholders over the shortage of the drug in the country.

The committee also directed for holding the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Tests (MDCAT) across the country on the same day.

Committee says MDCAT will be held across country the same day

The committee was apprised that the pharmaceutical sector sought an increase in the price of paracetamol, but the request was rejected by the federal cabinet.

The special secretary of the health ministry apprised that provision of medicines especially in the flood-affected areas was being effectively monitored. He informed that the government had already received an ample supply of paracetamol from foreign governments in the flood aid.

The committee, however, expressed its annoyance over the continued absence of the federal minister and secretary from the committee meetings and decided that further issues pertaining to Drap will be discussed in the presence of the health minister.

Pakistan Nursing Council

The committee expressed disappointment over the performance of the Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC), terming it a failure to bring the nursing sector at par with international standards. The committee was of the view that substandard clinical training, obsolete curriculum, and a lack of quality training institutions were the main reasons behind the failure of the PNC.

The PNC registrar said that more than half of the 339 institutes imparting training to nurses were private schools. She added that at least 17,485 nurses and paramedics have been enrolled with the PNC till date.

Meanwhile, PNC President Dr Shazia Sobia Soomro, speaking at a news conference, said that she will ensure that the negative image of the nursing council is converted into a positive one. She said that during the previous government all the issues were tackled through ordinances, but she will function as per the law and make the nursing board powerful.

Dr Soomro also said that the registration process of nurses will be improved and they will get their registration cards at their homes.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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