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[e-drug] GST chaos leads to shortage of medicines

  • Subject: [e-drug] GST chaos leads to shortage of medicines
  • From: Azhar Hussain <[email protected]>
  • Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2002 03:12:15 -0400 (EDT)

E-drug: GST chaos leads to shortage of medicines

(GST chaos leads to shortage of medicines -DAWN - National; 06
September, 2002.htm)

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: The confusion created by the decision of withdrawal
of general sales tax without evolving a mechanism for refund of the GST
has led to an acute shortage of life saving drugs. More than 100
essential medicines are missing from the market, according to a survey
conducted by a consumer rights organization.

The Network for Consumer Protection, said a number of essential
medicines were not available in the market for the last two weeks.

The project coordinator, pharmaceuticals of the Network, Azhar Hussain,
said in a statement that the root cause of the shortage was the chaos
created by the absence of a mechanism for refund after the reversal of
15 per cent GST on medicines.

"The government though announced withdrawal of the GST on medicines on
August 22, but did not indicate any mechanism to get a refund of the GST
on the existing stocks".

He said it was the poor patients who were paying a price for the
shortage of essential drugs, which was increasing day by day, alleging
that major manufacturers and suppliers were not taking interest in
supplying fresh stocks to the market despite the shortage.

They were neither replacing nor supplying the medicines exempted from
the GST, he said questioning why should the poor consumer be made to
suffer due to the flaws in the policy.

A spokesman for the organization also alleged that the government had
acted in haste to fulfil the requirements of the international donors.
The decision to reverse the GST, though in the interest of the general
consumer, was not well-planned because the government failed to devise a
mechanism to control the market dynamics once it was implemented. This
resulted in an acute shortage of the medicines required by the people
for their survival.

He said the poor patients had to buy the medicines on the price
inclusive of the GST. "If this continues we are going to face an acute
shortage of medicines adding to the misery of the already suffering poor
patient," he said.

Some of the medicines which according to the survey were short in the
market were: Accupril, Aldomet tabs, Amikin injection, Amlocard tabs,
Ampiclox caps and syrups, Antial tabs, Aprannx tbs, artem caps, Asacci
tabs, Ascard tabs, Azactam inj, Basoquin susp, Becefol, Becozym drgees,
Bejectal infusion, Benatuss syp, Benecryl syp & tabs, Berroca tabs,
Betage tabs, Capozide tab, Citralka liquid, Claritek tabs, co-Renitec
Tab, corgard tab, Coversyl tabs, Decadron eye drops, Decadron tabs,
Diane 35 tabs, dicloran tabs, digex MP susp, Dilantin caps & susp,
Dilzem tabs, Dormicum tabs, Duphalac susp, Duricef caps & susp, Erybron
tabs, Etipro caps, Etizem caps and Fansidar syp.

Azhar Hussain
The Network for Consumer Protection
Azhar Hussain <[email protected]>
[We look forward to hearing from other e-druggers in Pakistan about 
the impact of these moves on availability of essential drugs.  BS]
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