Risk of Fake Drugs Puts Healthcare System’s Efficacy into Doubt


by Seemab Chaudhary

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In Karachi, authorities tested the samples of life-saving medications. They have found over a half-dozen life-saving medicines samples to be fake and spurious, which are also used for mental illness treatment. Other thirty drugs were found substandard, shared by officials.

The sources and the official said that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) had collected samples from different sources over the past few months. After complete testing, it revealed a lot of disturbing facts. Copies of at least 30 essential and life-saving medicines were found in the stores by limited checks from the agencies.


A source citing the recent data, examined by Drap and Sindh’s Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) shared that “these seven fake and spurious medicines include Isoflurane and Alprazolam which are sold under different brand names”.

They added, “They are very crucial medicines and used as general anaesthetic potent tranquillisers. The fake and spurious drugs mean that they do not have any active pharmaceutical ingredient as they mostly contain chalk or starch.

The other medicines with fake samples were found, including Glucantime, Cefim DS Suspension, and Meropenem injection. The source also revealed that “the regulatory field force identified the suspected samples of different pharmaceutical products and sent them for analysis to the laboratory”.

Health experts from multiple hospitals, including Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Al Mustafa Hospital, and Ashfaq Memorial Hospital are also very concerned about this alarming situation.

An official also shared that “the provincial drugs testing laboratory has declared the samples of all these seven medicines as spurious”.

Dr. Faraz Hashmi, the medical director of Ehad Medical and Pharmacy, emphasised the need for the pharmacies to run in a structured way and for qualified pharmacists to manage them.

Adnan Rizvi, chief of Sindh’s Laboratory, also accepted the fact that it is an alarming situation. Dr. Sajjad also said that “I personally believe that those involved in such businesses should be charged under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code. It’s a heinous crime. We need strong legislation against these activities”.