Medical negligence – ‘Cold Chain’ for vaccines not being maintained by pharmaceutical companies


LAHORE: A majority of distributors of national and multinational pharmaceutical companies are supplying medicines to retailers without maintaining the requisite “Cold Chain”, affecting the efficacy of vaccines, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Medical experts said that maintaining the Cold Chain means that a vaccine manufactured at 2 degree Celsius should be stored in the same temperature until it reaches the patient for proper efficacy of vaccines. They said certain medicines need to be kept in temperatures ranging between 2 degree Celsius and 15 degree Celsius and any higher degree will make the vaccine ineffective.
Young Doctors Association General Secretary Dr Salmaan Kazmi said most pharmaceutical distributors of pharmaceutical companies do not maintain the cold chain and cold storage and use motorcycles to supply insulin, interferon and other sensitive vaccines. “It is sad that ice creams are supplied in the city with cold chain while medicines of even renowned companies are supplied without it.
The government procured vaccines have a sticker which changes colour if cold chain is not maintained but no such mechanism is available for a large number of medical stores and retailers. The government always raids medical stores and retailers, but never initiates action against big distributors and pharmaceutical companies which also need to be held accountable,” Kazmi added.
This has also caused a lot of inconvenience to poor patients who have no idea about the efficacy of medicines and the consequent loss of money. Talking to Pakistan Today, Ghulam Rasool, buying medicines from a medical store opposite Mayo Hospital, said, “I’m not literate and have no idea about cold chain or efficacy of medicines.
People in distress come to medical stores with doctor’s prescription and get the medicine and it is the government’s duty to ensure that medicines available at retail outlets are not fake or ineffective.” Executive District Officer (Health) Lahore
Dr Umar Farooq said the government has already finalized a plan to ensure cold chain for vaccines which need it. To a question, he said the plan will be implemented across the district and the government plans to crackdown on “big fish” and not just small retailers.