KARACHI: Spurious and substandard medicines have become a grave threat to life and health of citizens and the concerned authorities should take stern action against this menace. Substandard and spurious drugs are being sold almost in every part of the country as the people behind this shameful business are powerful and influential and corrupt bureaucracy does not take serious action against them. In fact corruption has roots in whole society and the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are also not fee from it, said Voice Against Corruption President Ahsan Bari Advocate. He said they have been receiving complaints about supply of the substandard drugs to some government-run hospitals and they have already lodged a written complaint in this regard with the director FIA Sindh. He claimed there are several units that make substandard drugs in the province; however, sadly some black sheep are involved in purchase of these harmful drugs for government hospitals at inflated prices. He said the FIA is empowered to take action against these culprits as Drug Act 1976 is a schedule offence as per the FIA schedule. A senior teacher and expert on healthcare issues Dr Tahir Abdul Latif said it is amongst basic responsibilities of government to safeguard health of public. She said substandard drugs waste health and money of people and the government should take action this malpractice. She said the in-house pharmacies of government hospitals should be fully utilized to minimize the need of purchase from market, but if such purchases are necessary only reputable and authentic drug companies should be used for this purpose. Humera Sawrat, a noted writer, said the condition of government hospitals is generally pathetic and even substandard drugs are not available in many of them. She said every year billions of rupees are spent on purchase of drugs but a large portion of this money goes to the pockets of corruption mafia. She said civil society should also play its role to improve pathetic condition of government-run hospitals and dispensaries as they are run with taxpayers’ money. Pasban e Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor said corruption and bad governance has been devouring our society and we should take firm steps to purge our society from this menace. He said health department is amongst the most corrupt government departments and it needs to be run by some honest people. He said all concerned departments and agencies should adopt zero tolerance towards the business of substandard medicines so that health and lives of innocent people could be saved. Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2017.