It is no surprise that our country and our citizens fall victim to counterfeit and expired products. An excellent example is of food outlets, where the quality of oil, kitchen hygiene or other general health and safety standards raise questions.

That being said, one could never think that this problem would also arise in the field of medicines, primarily because medicines are supposed to cure you, not make you sicker. One buys medicine expecting it to be legitimate. However, that is not the case anymore. We see raids and actions taken by the government but somehow they aren’t working. Just recently, a crackdown has been launched against spurious drug manufacturers, and the reports have revealed that more than 3,000 cases were registered for violation of laws. Moreover, there seems to be no implementation of storage guidelines for pharmacies with respect to different medicines, which results in lower efficacy of drugs and vaccines.

In such circumstances, the less-informed patients have to consume whatever is available to them in order to overcome their illness. On researching among my circle, I discovered a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company which provides an Access program that allows treatment of various diseases for the price of $1 a month per disease to people in need, specifically designed for patients of NCDs. This program is aimed for developing countries, and helps sort the issue of quality and affordability. The relevant authorities should promote programs like these before serious numbers are affected.

KIRAN FAROOQ,

Karachi, February 21.