Demand withdrawal of amendments to Drugs Act 1976
Sit-in causes severe traffic jams on several roads
LAHORE: A large number of medical stores and pharmacies of the provincial capital on Monday kept their shutters down on the call of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) against the Drugs Act 2017.
While a large number of patients were left distraught due to the strike, the medical stores and pharmacies inside public and private hospitals and a few outside the Mayo hospital, Ganga Ram hospital, Services hospital and Jinnah hospital remained open throughout the day.
According to the details, the PPMA and 12 other organisations called a strike against the amendments to the Punjab Drugs Act 1976 which were introduced last year. To record their protest, a large number of activists belonging to the PPMA, the Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association (PYPA), Associations of Pharmaceutical Distributors, wholesalers, pharmacists, chain pharmacies, medicine manufacturers, dealers and retailers gathered outside the Lahore Press Club.
They chanted slogans against the government, and called the new drugs act their “economic victimisation”.
Those leading the protests said that all factories and medical stores would remain closed and the protest would continue till the withdrawal of the amendments.
PPMA Joint Action Committee Chairman Hamid Raza said that they were not consulted when the amendments were being made to the drugs act. He also said that the Drugs Act 1976 was passed by the federal government and it was a federal subject, so all the amendments should be made by the federal government.
In the evening, while calling the strike off, Hamid said that it was a one-day strike that remained successful. Speaking to the media during a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, he said that they had given an ultimatum to the Punjab government to withdraw the amendments before March 9 otherwise they would once again call for a shutter down strike for an indefinite period of time.
According to reports, a number of medical stores in Gujranwala, Narowal, Kasur, Okara, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Nankana, Khanewal, Vehari, Chiniot, Multan, Rahimyar Khan and other cities also remained closed while some reports said that they too carried out protest rallies in a bid to press the government for the withdrawal of the amendments.
It is pertinent to mention that according to the amendments, the sellers of substandard medicines would be awarded a punishment of five years in jail with a fine of Rs1 million, the sellers of fake medicines would undergo a five-year imprisonment and would have to pay Rs50 million as fine while those found selling medicines without a license would get 10 years in jail and would have to pay a fine worth Rs100 million.
Due to the protest, a severe traffic jam was also observed on different roads of the city. The Shimla Pahari area, Mall Road, Edgerton Road, Queen’s Road, Davis Road, Lawrence Road and the Jail Road were most affected because of the sit-in.