LAHORE: The Homoeopathic Pharmaceutical and Chemist Association (HPCA) Pakistan has lashed out at the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) and the Punjab’s health minister for humiliating, harassing and defaming the homoeopathic pharmaceutical sector by conducting raids on homeopathic units and stores.

The senior representatives of the association called a meeting here on Sunday and expressed grave concerns at discrimination against Pakistan’s alternate system of medicines.

In the 13th executive committee meeting of the HPCA, chaired by Dr Amanullah Bismal, the office-bearers and leading practitioners from all provinces of the country participated.

“We have 38 large-scale manufacturing units approved by and registered with Drap in the country,” Kashif Malik, a senior representative of the association, said.

Urges govt to stop raids on units in process of registration with Drap

India is taking the lead in every sector of allopathic and alternate systems of medicines by regulating them and it established the Ministry of Ayush in 2014 with a vision to revive the profound knowledge of ancient systems of medicine and ensuring the optimal development and propagation of the alternative healthcare systems, he said.

Ayush is an acronym of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy.

“The Ayush doctors can work as public health physicians under various Indian state government organisations and research in the public health sector after doing a postgraduate course, the master of public health (MPH). They can also choose to work as healthcare administrators by doing an MBA in hospital management,” Mr Malik said.

Ayush treatment encompassed traditional and holistic Indian healing methods and solutions, he said and added that the system was catering to the health needs of patients in India.

“But the situation is highly deplorable in Pakistan where the doctors associated with the alternate system of medicines are being humiliated,” he added.

An HPCA representative said thousands of cases for approval of the homoeopathy medicines were pending with DRAP for the last many years and no one bothered to give a sympathetic hearing to the manufacturers who travelled hundreds of kilometres from various parts of the country to meet the authority’s officers in Islamabad.

“We have invested hundreds of millions of rupees in the industry after going through a tough and detailed process given by Drap,” the HPCA representative said and added that Drap had issued a Form 7 for approval of manufacturing homoeopathic medicines to the pharma owners. Accordingly, the firms submitted thousands of cases for the registration of medicines to Drap but no one bothered to initiate the process.

“Just as Drap delayed the process, the Punjab health minister launched a crackdown on the units, stores and warehouses across the province. The drug inspectors are sealing units, imposing heavy fines, humiliating and harassing the practitioners besides the owners of the pharma units,” Mr Malik lamented.

“We are qualified practitioners dealing with the homoeopathic drugs manufactured by Drap-approved pharma units under its strict vigilance. Under the Drap rules, each manufacturing unit has been established at more than 4 kanal land,” he said.

The HPCA urged the Punjab health ministry to give due respect to homoeopathy, call a meeting and resolve their core issues to promote the homoeopathic sector.

“We want a favourable environment by providing facilities to the homoeopathic sector so that the industry can grow,” said the association.

The executive members of the HPCA lamented that the reputation of the homoeopathic sector was being affected by raids and harassment of homoeopathic stores.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2024

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