Saturday June 03, 2023

Pakistan having to import snakebite vaccine from India

November 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A limited stock of snakebite vaccine was imported from India a few days back, which is not enough to meet the need.

This was disclosed by Zahid Bakhtawri, Chairman of Pakistan Chemist and Drug Association, Punjab, and Chairman Joint Action Committee for Pharma Trade and Industry.

Production of anti-snake venom serum and Rabies vaccine has almost stopped in Pakistan. The import of these vaccines from China and Korea came to end after July this year.

Forty years ago, the National Institute of Health started supplying snakebite and Rabies vaccines and vaccine for children immunisation to all parts of the country. But now Pakistan is forced to import all these vaccines spending most-needed foreign currency.

It’s all because no government in the past paid much attention to the National Institute of Health. This national institute has the capacity to produce all the vaccines and injections. But what is needed is allocation of funds to the institute to make it fully functional.

Zahid Bakhtawri said foreign companies were producing snakebite and Rabies vaccines and exporting them to Pakistan. A foreign company that winded up and left Pakistan is now getting tablets for fever and pain and other medicines produced by pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan and marketing these in the country with its label, he added.

Bakhtawri said it was unfortunate that the government was not patronising medical research institutes in the country. He said medicines which our pharmas could produce were being sold at higher price with brand name of foreign companies.