50% medicines in country substandard, spurious: Malik
* Interior minister says effective legislation needed to punish culprits
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly on Tuesday that according to estimates, 50 percent of the medicines available in the country were substandard and spurious.
The House passed two resolutions on private members’ day, urging the government to take action against those selling spurious medicine and to provide support to needy children and women. It also amended two sub-sections of Section 227 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentarian Shireen Khan, who had presented the resolution on illegal sale of spurious medicines, expressed concern over the presence of untested or unapproved Chinese and Indian remedies in the market. She urged the government to take action against those involved in the import of Indian medicines, which were not only substandard but also expensive.
Another PML-N leader, Barjees Tahir, said there are several laws in the country to curtail fake medicines and quacks, but their non-implementation had given a free hand to the culprits. “The drug inspectors do not perform their duty honestly.”
Since the health minister was not present in the House, the law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister, on his behalf, said besides quacks or spurious medicines, the issue of preservation and manufacturing of life-saving drugs was also a matter of concern. Rehman Malik told the House that the sale of spurious drugs is booming and even the life-saving drugs for children were substandard. “The Federal Investigation Agency seized raw material and drugs during various raids. But the culprits escape by the time investigation is completed and action initiated.”
Legislation: The interior minister said, “We need effective legislation to nab and punish the culprits who are wreaking havoc in our nation. Even police and the FIA cannot arrest anybody until drug inspectors report the matter.”
Meanwhile, the second resolution urged the government to provide all kinds of support to destitute children and women, recommending to set up small industries in rural areas to provide jobs to the people. It said many people had started begging due to unemployment and zakat funds were also not given to the needy. The House also amended two sub-sections of Section 227 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, according to which the words ‘chairman’ and ‘committee’ would be substituted in place of “the standing committee chairman”