Scores of Pharmacists gathered in front of Peshawar Press Club on 23 April 2019 and held a peaceful march towards the KP Provincial assembly to press the government for the implementation of KP drug rules 2017 and other demands. The pharmacists throughout KP participated in this protest demonstration which was planned by the Young Pharmacists Community.
Preparations for the said protest started several weeks ago and various organizations of pharmacists visited different universities, hospitals and pharmaceutical industries, throughout Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (KP) to motivate the pharmacists in this regard and to ensure their presence in the said event. The protestors also blocked the main GT road for half an hour, in front of KP provincial assembly and chanted full-throat slogans for the implementation of their demands.
The demands of Pharmacists include
- Implementation of Drug Rules 2017,
- Computerization of drug sale licenses,
- Ban on the issuance of medical store licenses on Category B,
- Stop the illegal conversion of category C into Category B,
- No permission for medicine distribution on category B,
- Proper service structure for pharmacists working in pharmaceutical industries, medical stores / Pharmacies, distribution setups and other private sector jobs,
- Appointment of Pharmacists in Medical Teaching Institutions (MTIs), the district headquarters hospitals (DHQ) and Tehsil headquarter (THQs)hospitals on a permanent basis,
- Amending the 50 years old Pharmacy Act 1967,
- Implementation of pharmacy services as per DRAP Act 2012 in community pharmacies and govt and private hospitals,
- Appointment of Drug Inspectors at Tehsil level,
- Solving the issues faced by industrial pharmacists (low wages and job security),
- Establishment of Drug Testing Laboratories (DTL) and Drug Courts at District level,
- Reducing the recent hike in medicine prices.
Pharmacists protest for the implementation of Drug Sale Rule 2017 was addressed by
Various office bearers of the Pharmacist community including the General Secretary Pakistan Pharmacist Association (PPA) Dr Ihsanullah, Vice president of PPA Prof Dr Farman Khan (Department of Pharmacy, Kohat University of Science and Technology), Dr Yousaf Khan Khan Principal Al Farabi Institute of Medical Technology, Dr Tariq and Dr Muhammad Raees of the young pharmacist’s community addressed the participants of the protest. They demanded of the government to immediately stop playing with the lives of people by implementing the above-mentioned demands.
Secretary PPA said that the present system of sales of drugs in Pakistan does not exist anywhere in the world. He further stated that even in third world countries all the issues pertaining to drugs are dealt by the qualified Pharmacists who have obtained degrees from the recognized universities but in Pakistan, the sale of medicine has been handed over to unqualified people having diploma level qualification. Such people cannot work independently in any drug-related setup and they will have to work under the supervision of qualified pharmacists.
Dr Farman and Dr Yousaf while addressing the participants stated that the government is not serious about the lives of people. The ailing community is left at the mercy of unqualified people due to which the people of the province are not getting the quality medicines even after paying hefty amounts in this regard. They further stated that more than one thousand pharmacists graduated annually from different universities of the province but the government is not taking benefit from these highly qualified people in the field of medicine.
The participants of the protest demonstrations also demanded of the government to lower the medicine prices without any delay because the ailing community cannot afford to buy their required medicine at such high prices. The representatives of the Pharmacist community stated that there is no justification to do several-fold increase in the prices of medicine as the DRAP has allowed the pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase the process by just 15 per cent. Its merit a mentioned here that the prices of medicines have recently been increased more than 100 per cent on the ground of devaluation of Pakistani rupees and an increase in dollar price.
The leaders of the pharmacist community vowed to stage DHARNA in front of Imran Khan Bani Gala home if their demands are not accepted by the KP government.
The protestors disappeared peacefully after getting assurance from the representatives of the health department and govt of KP regarding resolutions of their demand.