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Chaotic situation in pharmaceutical industry

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05th-Aug-2017       
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The disclosure at a round-table in the city on Wednesday that medicines produced by 10 to 12 pharmaceutical companies of the country are only broadly acceptable as quality medicine to physicians is highly disturbing. We have a total of around 246 pharmaceutical companies producing drugs and supplying in the market, some of them are also exporting but if the quality of medicines of the vast majority of drug manufacturers is openly disputed them the big question is what the officials at the Directorate of Drug Administration and members of law enforcement agencies are doing. In our view there must a total overhauling of the drug administration and monitoring system and corrupt and inefficient people allowing it to happen must be removed.   
The disclosure by the Health Minister in that meeting that about 66 drug manufacturing firms which were closed for producing substandard medicines and running business illegally returned to business "with stay order from the court" is also highly disappointing. They took advantage of legal loopholes but the big question is who will save the millions of people buying fake or poor quality medicine for life saving treatment.
We must say the responsibility to restore discipline in the drug manufacturing industry lies with the government and the Health Ministry in particular. But if the Minister himself regrets the failure to stop several dozens of firms operating without license and returning to business who else can exercise power and wipe out fake drug manufacturers from the industry.
Experts voiced concerns over the slow pace of implementation of the new National Drug Policy that the government approved in December last. Many believe vested interest groups even within the ruling party establishments who own such drug manufacturing factories are working to put the policy to failure. It calls for ensuring high quality of medicines and they fear it may ultimately end up closing their illegal drug manufacturing factories. The truth is that as ruling party men are exploiting the situation, Directorate of the Drug Administration can't take drastic steps against them while the members of the law enforcement agencies are not also showing enough courage to discipline them.
It appears that for powerful people it is not difficult to manage the situation and run the illegal business. But if the Health Minister himself regrets of his failure to stop some of them from returning to business there is none to protect people who are buying fake or substandard medicine; many of them by selling their last slot of property only to be cheated at the end.  Meanwhile, most drug manufacturers are extorting exorbitant price of medicine violating basic rules to make huge fortune.  
This anarchy in the industry must not be allowed to continue. But it requires political will to shut illegal factories and fight back exploitation of market by some wealthy people dominating the industry.

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