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November 15, 2017



Opposition raises issues of spurious drugs, overpriced medicines

The Sindh Assembly was informed on Tuesday about spurious drugs being openly sold in the market, pharmacies overcharging for medicines without any government check or intervention and the pathetic state of affairs at the paediatric department of the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.

The important issues were raised on points of order by two lawmakers from the Opposition benches on the private members’ day of the provincial legislature. Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MPA Diwan Chand Chawla said that spurious drugs were being sold in the market without any check, adding that no action was being taken by the government to check the menace.

Chawla said there had been unprecedented hike in the prices of medicines being sold in the market, as a tablet having actual retail price of Rs10 was being sold in the market for as high as Rs100.

He asked when the companies involved in manufacturing spurious drugs would be taken to task. He informed the House that fake and unregistered medicines were being illegally brought into the country from India and China.

He said spurious medicines were not helpful in curing the ailments of the citizens, adding that the government should wake up to the alarming situation, take strict cognisance of the issue and take strict action against the unscrupulous elements involved in the sale of fake medicines.

Speaking on another point of order, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman said that a large number of children were under treatment at the paediatric department of the Civil Hospital, much more than its actual capacity of admitting in-house patients.

Zaman said that necessary medicines were not available at the paediatric department and the attendants of the patients were being asked to bring the medicines from outside the hospital.

He said that up to 70 per cent of the medicines required by the children being treated in the ward were being brought from the outside. He also pointed out that harmful insects, including cockroaches, were freely roaming around the ward.

Gutka, Mainpuri

Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani introduced a private bill – namely the Sindh Prohibition on Manufacture, Promotion and Sale of Gutka and Mainpuri Bill – for a blanket ban on the production and sale of the two menaces across the province.

Explaining the objectives of her bill, the treasury lawmaker said that a large number of people, including elders and children, had become addicted to chewable forms of tobacco and similar harmful substances such as Gutka and Mainpuri.

Rubina said the practice was dangerous and posed serious risks to human life and survival, adding that chewing of harmful substances could even cause oral cancer.

The proposed bill has recommended a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs100,000 for those involved in the manufacture and sale of Gutka and Mainpuri in the province.  

Two resolutions

The House unanimously passed a private resolution calling upon the Sindh government to appoint female teachers at public primary schools in the province on a gradual basis so as to improve the academic results of their students. The resolution was moved by MQM-P MPA Rana Ansar.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro said that if all the male teachers felt compelled to leave their jobs at primary schools across the province in one go, then it would be tantamount to gender discrimination.

Khuhro said the provincial government would not involve itself in any sort of discrimination, especially on the basis of gender, regarding the services of teachers of public schools.

Syed Sardar Ahmed, the MQM-P’s parliamentary party leader in the House, said that most of the teachers associated with primary-level education in the Western world were female, as the West had taken such a decision after the due thought process because female teachers instruct children in their early years like mothers.

Another resolution of an MPA of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional was passed unanimously. It called for commencing the crushing season by sugar mills across Sindh this year at the earliest so as to resolve the pressing grievances of the sugarcane growers of the province.