Non-opening of LCs may cause drug shortages, says PMA

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Medical Association (PMA) has warned that the country’s health delivery system is already in shambles and a shortage of medicines due to the non-opening of letters of credit (LCs) for the import of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or raw materials will take the situation from bad to worse.

Through a press release on Saturday, the doctors’ representative body was expressing its concerns over the statement of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufac­turers Association (PPMA) that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has verbally conveyed to all local banks not to open LCs due to shortage of dollars.

“If LCs are not opened soon, it may result in medicine shortages because most of the pharmaceutical companies have only two months’ raw material available with them and they are unable to place orders for the raw material for the future,” PMA Secretary-General Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro said in a statement.

“If suitable measures are not taken to avoid shortage of medicine in upcoming days, we are scared that situation will lead to black marketing and smuggling and eventually the prices of the medicine will go beyond the reach of the poor people,” he said.

PMA has demanded the government take appropriate measures immediately to avoid any ugly situation and save the lives of people.

Malik Arshad Awan, a representative of PPMA, said that the local pharma industry is fully reliant on impor­ted raw materials and the cost of manufacturing has already increased due to the massive rupee devaluation.

“The situation is going to become worst as LCs are not being opened. We urge the government to look into the issue and address it at the earliest,” he said.