Friday December 09, 2022

Medicine shortages

May 10, 2022

In February this year, Pakistan faced an acute shortage of morphine. It is unfortunate that in low- and middle-income countries like Pakistan, patients have to suffer unnecessarily because of unavailability of drugs. In Pakistan, this shortage occurred when Imran Khan was our prime minister. The former PM has extensively talked about the excruciating pain he witnessed from the unavailability of painkillers for cancer patients, and this was in the 1980s. As the country’s PM, he should have taken steps to address this issue that continues to affect thousands of patients in our country.

We are not alone, and many other countries also go through the process of balancing the laws that are in place to prevent dependence and misuse of opioids and improving access for clinical use. To reach that balance in our country, we need commitment of our leadership. Efforts to improve drug availability also require parallel efforts to educate physicians and patients on the subject with the goal to reduce avoidable suffering.

Mariam Khan