Owing to a shortage of cough and influenza medicines in the country, patients suffering from these illnesses are taking longer time to heal. It has been learnt that many important medicines for cold and flu are in short supply, making the lives of patients miserable. The tablets that are facing shortage include Cafcol, Actifed-P and Actifed-DM tablets, Fexet-D, Telfast-D, Fexo-D and Xaidin Plus tablets. Syrups of Sancos, Triminic, Cosom and Ronodac are also reported missing from shelves. Moreover, Arinac 200 milligramme tablets and Arinac Fort tablets are being sold in black at exorbitant prices. A source in pharma industry says, “Companies are not being provided the required supply of ephedrine. This has resulted in shortage of medicines and will continue to cause periodic shortages throughout the year. The full and timely allocation of their quota of controlled substances to the companies would have covered the production of medicines for entire year without any hiccups.” The source said that monthly meetings for quota allocation is not being held nor are consultative meetings between the government and industry to discuss the issues in this regard. “The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and NCB are responsible for this chaos as they are allowing only 5 percent enhancement over last allocation which is not enough considering the prevalence of diseases and ever increasing disease burden,” added the source. He also said that the concerned authorities are not following guidelines of the International Narcotics Control Board which would assure continuity in supply chain of medicines without disruption. “The authorities also made some negative changes in the standard operating procedures with regards to the enhancement which is already just 5 percent. This is also leading to shortages of the said medicines,” reasoned the source. “The government should immediately take action and resolve this crisis by streamlining the allocation of ephedrine to the pharmaceutical companies so that the shortage of important drugs may not happen next time,” said the source. Meanwhile, talking to patients, revealed that that they are not getting important medicines for cold and flu for more than one week and condition is getting worse day by day. “I am unable to find tablets or syrups for cold and flu which is making my ailing condition more painful and I fear I would likely to go for expensive treatment,” said a patient named Ahmed. A chemist Zameer Hassani said that this shortage has hit people from every segment of the society because these drugs are not easy to import even if we look for alternative options. This shortage of medicines has also puzzled doctors across the country as they are unable to prescribe the drugs for cold and flu that are available in the market. Interestingly, this is not for the first time that such shortage of important medicines hit the masses. “It has become a routine for every year. Now the new government should make it their one of the top priorities to serve the masses by ensuring the availability of drugs,” said the source. He added that serving the masses in the time of need should be the top priority of the new government and this shortage is their first test case to confirm to their mandate. Published in Daily Times, September 6th 2018.