Government failure: Sales of counterfeit medicines still thriving in Lahore
The local health department’s claims to initiate a crackdown against businesses selling counterfeit medicines remain ineffective.
Even after two years, since the initiative was taken, only 65 people have been arrested for selling fake medicines, and that too of smaller factories. The big guns remain at large and the health department seems powerless against them.
According to recent reports, there are close to 3600 factories all over Pakistan that are producing and selling fake and low-quality medicines – out of which, around 1800 are situated in Lahore alone.
However, the health department has only apprehended 25 owners so far, and arrested 65 people belonging to these factories.
In order to hide their incompetence and ineptitude, the health department has been organizing public forums and rallies to pacify the public but in reality, the department’s performance has been utterly disappointing.
According to various witnesses, many of the factories which produce fake medicines are being operated from posh localities of the city, where is it easier for the government officials to arrange a crackdown. But so far, nothing seems to have irked the administration enough to do their jobs.
In these factories, fake injections and low-quality medicines for hepatitis, influenza, the common cold, diabetes and diseases are being prepared, which, if administered to patients, can prove to be fatal.
According to the health department, the raw material for these medicines is smuggled from China and India and the medicines are sold under local brand names that have no credibility whatsoever.
A 2013 WHO report suggested that close to 30% to 40% medicines in Pakistan are counterfeit and over the past two years, this number has only grown more. However, the healthcare administrators of the local government in Lahore and the federal government still seem least concerned.