LAHORE: The Punjab health department is all set to launch a province-wide crackdown on the hoarders of Panadol to make it available for the rising number of dengue and malaria patients.

The Director General Drugs Control has been assigned the task of supervising and monitoring the crackdown by fielding the drug inspectors and other relevant officials of his department all over the province.

They have been directed to check godowns, stores, and other suspected places of the medicine markets to ensure supply of medicines at actual prices.

The action was proposed on the persistent complaints that the mafia was hoarding the most-needed medicine, forcing the patients to purchase it at higher price. Although more than 200 brands of paracetamol are available in the market, Panadol has been recommended on a large scale to the patients by the medics.

Plan to construct 34 new hospitals

The Punjab health department held a series of meetings to address the chronic issue of shortage of Panadol when some drug inspectors reported that the pharmacies and medical store owners had hoarded millions of Panadol tablets. They also shared video clips of the inspections carried out at some pharmacies and medical stores from where the officials recovered cartons of tablets.

At a meeting held here on Friday, the health authorities gave approval to launch a crackdown on the mafia involved in black-marketeering of Panadol. Chaired by Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid, the meeting was attended by health secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch, special secretary Dr Farrukh Naveed, Punjab Healthcare Commission Chief Executive Officer Saqib Aziz, Prof Asad Aslam and other senior officials.

The health secretary and other officers briefed the meeting on the disturbing reports of hoarding of Panadol and overcharging. Prof Rashid directed the health authorities to initiate crackdown on the mafia in the wake of rising number of dengue cases in Punjab.

She said a ramp-up plan had also been prepared to increase the number of beds for dengue patients in Punjab’s hospitals. She said citizens could call the helpline number 0304-1111781 of the department of specialized healthcare and medical education to get information related to dengue.

“The rapid increase in dengue cases in Punjab is alarming,” the health minister said and directed the commissioners and DCs to increase the surveillance of dengue in their areas.

HOSPITALS: The Punjab government has planned construction of 34 new state-run hospitals across the province.

As many as 11 mother and child hospitals were among them. The plan was shared at a meeting of the health department wherein Dr Rashid reviewed the universal health coverage programme, under-construction mother and child block at Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore, and SNE’s of various under-construction government hospitals.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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