Stop the use of substandard Stents

The recovery of large quantity substandard stents from the Meo hospital Lahore has shocked many who are not aware of the fact that to make huge profits, many companies produces or sale substandard, fake and harmful medicines, instruments and medical accessories across the country. The government departments responsible to regulate the health sector have miserably failed to check malpractices and undue profits.

The stents are used for cardiac patients to avoid heart attack and chest pain. Stents are small, expandable tubes that are used to treat narrowed arteries in the body. There are different types of stents available in the market. The stents are imported from China, Germany, USA and other countries. Its price ranges between 35,000 to 3,50,000 depending on the quality of the product.

There is no control over the prices. The companies that import stents and registered with Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan(DRAP). The companies themselves fix the prices. Some companies import the substandard stents at the price of 2,500 to 8,500 and sold it to patients for 1,00,000 to 2,50,000 rupees. The DRAP officials are not interested to check the standard of these stents and other medical accessories.

There is no policy frame work in place to check the standard and quality of stents to fix the prices. There is also no labortary to check the quality of stents, drugs, medical devices and instruments. DRAP has also issued public statement to express their concerns regarding the malpractice by cardiac consultants and specialists, who used unregistered, substandard and smuggled stents.

According to the DRAP, the import, export, distribution, sale, perscription and use of unregistred stents on patients is a cognsizeable offence and can lead to the registration of an FIR against the offenders. Some private hospitals are also facilitating the sale of smuggled stents. They have given rooms to the companies to sale their unregistred and substandard stents to the patients on extortionst prices.

According to media reports, some hospitals selling smuggled stents at the price of 1,25,000 where it cost only 20,000 to import it. The companies, doctors and private hospitals are playing with the lives of patients and minting unreasonable amount of money from them.

The government should take serious note of this alarming situation in the health sector. It is need of the hour to strictly regulate the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. The ordinary people and poor masses should not left at the mercy of profit hungry hospitals and companies. The government should take strict action against all those who are involve in this malpratice and wrondoings. There is also no regulation in place to check the prices of the services provide by private hospitals. Pakistan is among the few countries in the world where private health care is not properly regulated. The government should also improve the standards and conditions at the state hospitals that the people can get cheaper health care.

It is the constitutional obligation of the government to provide free basic health care tom its citizens. The respective governments had ignored this important sector and allowed the mushroom growth of private hospitals. The government left the peiople of Pakistan at the mercy of highly commercialised hospitals which are working only to make money and profits. The government should take immediate actions to improve the situation.

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