LAHORE: The city is facing an acute shortage of different life-saving medicines as over 120 drugs/brands were not available at the local pharmacies and medical stores, causing anxiety to the patients and their attendants.

The most alarming part of the development is that several drugs prescribed at a wide-scale to the patients, including Glucophege (for diabetics), have completely vanished from the local market.

What further complicates the issue is that fact that the drug used an alternative to Glucophege, used by patients with type 2 diabetes to control sugar level, is also in a short supply.

Moreover, some blood thinning medicines used by cardiac patients are also in short supply.

Similarly, another massively prescribed drug, Hepa-Merz, used as a supportive therapy by patients suffering from liver diseases, such as jaundice, hepatitis (infection of the liver), hepatic cirrhosis (scarring/fibrosis of the liver), was not available in the local market. This drug is also prescribed to apparently healthy people with fatty liver.

Meanwhile, many medical practitioners say that medicines to treat diarrhea are also in short supply in the market, amid rising cases of the disease following recent rain spells.

A family physician, Dr Arham, says diarrhea causes loose or watery stool, and can cause multiple complications, which in extreme cases, result in painful death.

The doctor says the patients visiting clinics complain of shortage ofdiarrhea medicines even at the known pharmacies.

He says patients are also complaining that drugs commonly prescribed to both children and adults having cough are also being sold in black-market, adding that the owners of the pharmacies and medical stores are hoarding commonly used medicines like Pyodine, Polyfax skin ointment etc to earn unjustified profits.

He says there is also an acute shortage of the drugs used by patients having Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, besides medicines prescribed to women having gynae-related complications.

On the other hand, the pharmaceutical companies claim they were facing issues in manufacturing drugs and supplying them against the approved rates due to the frequent dollar rate hike, resulting in increased prices of raw material being imported from other countries.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2023

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