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Pakistan running out of life saving drugs

None of the brands selling lithium carbonate are available in the market for the last couple of months. To clarify, lithium carbonate is the most effective medicine for the treatment of several psychiatric illnesses.

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It seems that Pakistan is witnessing a shortage of essential life-saving medicines, the media reported. This is an alarming development as the list of drugs in short also include suicide prevention drug.

According to the details, none of the brands selling lithium carbonate are available in the market for the last couple of months. To clarify, lithium carbonate is the most effective medicine for the treatment of several psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder.

Other essential medicines, including methylphenidate for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and clonazepam drops and tablets for epilepsy in children and adults, are also not available in the market, physicians and pharmacists said.

Read more: Pakistan to face drugs shortage

As per reports, the cost of raw materials had gone up and companies were no more manufacturing them. There are other alternatives available in the market, however, they are not as effective.

What’s causing the shortage?

Pertinent to mention that the rupee’s devaluation is the biggest factor behind the increasing cost of production of many essential medicines. Pakistan is facing a tough situation as the rupee reached a new all-time low of Rs221.99 to a dollar in the inter-bank market. The rupee has been in a free fall.

Therefore, the cost of raw materials is increasing while utilities, transportation, and other costs have made it impossible for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture many essential medicines. The high cost of production is making it difficult for manufacturers to produce the drugs and sell them at a price below the cost of production.

Officials in the local pharmaceutical industry claimed over 60 medicines, including those used for the treatment of tuberculosis, psychiatric illnesses, neurological disorders including epilepsy, anti-depressant medicines, anticoagulants (blood thinners), painkillers, anti-hypertensive, and several other essential medicines are not available in community pharmacies.

Read more: First sign of default: Pakistan witnesses shortage of vital medicines