Pakistan Tackles Drug Availability, Deregistration, Information, and Transfer Pricing. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 007 (1988)
(1988; 1 page)


The Monitor interviewed Prof. A. J. Khan, Director-General of Health in Pakistan, on the drug situation in his country. Khan began by stating that the World Health Organization believes the number of drugs available in Pakistan is too high. At the time of the interview, there were more than 9,000 drugs registered in the country. Khan agreed that too many drugs were available and mentioned that steps were being taken to decrease the number. At the end of 1987, 603 drugs considered to be toxic or of doubtful use were deregistered. Most Pakistani pharmaceutical companies understood the need to increase regulation in the drug industry. Khan cited transfer pricing as one major problem that Pakistan has faced. With the help of the WHO, the transfer pricing problem of a few products has been solved. When asked whether people in need of drugs are able to afford them, Khan affirmed that the Pakistani government has committed to providing free medical aid. Additionally, if a drug is not available at a hospital or other public health resource, poor and destitute individuals can use money from a special Zakat fund to purchase drugs from a private doctor or seller. He also stated that he believes the government has a responsibility to act when prices are too high and that Pakistan hopes to have reasonably priced drugs throughout the country. Khan expressed appreciation for the help of the WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs. The interview concluded with a discussion of future plans in Pakistan. Khan confirmed that, at the time of the interview, the government intended to launch a drug information bulletin for doctors. This bulletin may be adapted to use in other health professions and as a training resource. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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