Lahore : Punjab Minister for Primary & Secondary Health Kh. Imran Nazir has said that the basic objective of introducing amendments in the Drug Act-1976 is to ensure provision of quality medicines to the people of Punjab for the safety of their health. He said that manufacturing and sale of spurious and substandard medicines would not be tolerated at any cost and such elements would be sent to jail.
The Minister further said that medical stores and chemists have no link with the drug act and they are being misguided for the vested interests.
He expressed these views while addressing a press conference in the committee room of Directorate General Public Relations, Punjab, here today.
He said that the working on the amendments in drug act was continued for the last one and a half years during that period more than dozen times consultation was made with all the stakeholders.
He further said that earlier there were minor fine for preparation of substandard medicines and after introducing amendments in the drug act, six months imprisonment and heavy fine could be imposed for manufacturing substandard medicines while sentence of life imprisonment and heavy fine of millions of rupees could be awarded to the manufacturers of spurious drugs.
The Minister said that substandard medicines in which prescribed quantity of ingredients is not included, these medicines are not only injurious for human lives but also misguide the doctors while prescribing the medicines. He said that medical stores have no concern with the amendments of drug act which is meant for the manufacturers and Health Department has no dispute with the medical stores and chemists.
Kh. Imran Nazir said that government is ready to provide safety-valve to differentiate between science and crime so that it could be decided whether there is a mistake or intention involved in making any substandard medicine.
However, nobody can allow to force the government to impose his or her choice, he added. He said that herbal production units would also be regulated and they have to adopt the Good Manufacturing Practices and registered themselves with the DRAP.
While responding to a question, Kh. Imran Nazir said that if other provinces are not taking any step in this regard, this is not our responsibility. He said that Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif wants to provide best quality medicines to a common man which is used by the elite.
He said that Punjab government, has many times consulted other provinces for diverting their attention to this very serious issue. He made it clear that nobody would allow to take the law in his hands and closing the medical stores by force. The Minister said that police has been asked to deal with such elements with iron hand. He said that the situation is normalizing gradually and big medical stores chains have been opened and it would further improve tomorrow.
Kh. Imran Nazir assured that government would take every step and utilize all resources to maintain uninterrupted medicines supply to the people.