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Essential medicines, including vital suicide-prevention drug, disappear from market

Approximately 60 important medications, including one used to prevent suicide, have disappeared off the market due to an increase in production costs.

A psychiatrist and former president of Pakistan Psychiatric Society told a local newspaper that for the past two to three months, all brands of lithium carbonate had been out of stock. He said that it was the most successful medication for treating bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions. He warned that many people with psychiatric illnesses may attempt suicide if this medication was not made readily available.

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According to doctors and pharmacists, some other necessary medications, such as clonazepam tablets and drops for treating epilepsy in children and adults, as well as methylphenidate for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, were not readily available on the market.

According to the same report, psychiatrist Iqbal Afridi stated that although there were some alternatives to lithium carbonate, they were not as effective as this medication.

The Chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, told the newspaper that a number of medications were unavailable on the local market because their production costs had risen to the point where it was no longer feasible for the manufacturers to produce the medications and sell them for less money than it would have cost to produce them.

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According to Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, the primary reason for the rise in the price of producing several important medicines was the depreciation of the rupee, rising expenses for utilities, transportation, which had made it unfeasible for pharmaceutical businesses to produce many important drugs.

He claimed that the government must either boost drug costs by 30 to 40 percent or de-regulate them in order to end the shortage of medications. He expressed concern that more corporations may quit producing a number of other medications in the near future.



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