Dearth of medicine hits health servicesVarious districts across the country are reeling under an acute shortage of medicine, including life saving drugs, owing to Indian blockade on Nepal-India border and protests of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha in Tarai districts.
Various districts across the country are reeling under an acute shortage of medicine, including life saving drugs, owing to Indian blockade on Nepal-India border and protests of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha in Tarai districts.
Drug entrepreneurs said around 400 trucks laden with medicine are stranded at various border points.
Fourteen pharmaceutical industries along the Birgung-Hetauda section stopped medicine production due to the lack of raw materials and security threats.
The border blockade has led to shortage of drugs particularly those used to cure blood pressure, diabetes, mental and heart ailments and also affected production within the country. Prakash Khandelwal, vice-chairman of the Association of Pharmaceutical Producers, said medicine production has come to a halt due to the blockade. “Medicines across the country have run out of stock,” he said, informing that a majority of pharmaceutical industries in Nepal import 90 percent of raw and packaging materials from Birgunj customs point. He said some drugs are imported via Bhairahawa customs point.
Stating that medicine worth around Rs 2 billion has been stranded in the Indian side of the border, Khandelwal said at least 400 trucks are awaiting clearance at Raxual border. Besides medicine, he said, a large quantity of medical raw materials has also been stranded at the border. “The expiration date of some drugs kept in the trucks is about to be over,” Khandelwal said.
Similarly, Prabhat Rungata, managing director of Maruti Pharma Private Limited, said his industry has been closed for the past 45 days due to the shortage of raw materials. Sources said Nepal imports medicine and surgical equipment worth around Rs 20 billion a year.
The District Public Health Office (DPHO) in Kapilvastu said it is running out of stock medicines but has not been able to replenish it due to ongoing banda. Officials said they are facing the shortage of medicine for the past one month. Acting DPHO chief Mohammad Irfan said they could not bring medicine from Butwal-based regional medical store due to road obstructions. Likewise, some districts in the eastern region are also facing an acute shortage of medicine due to Tarai unrest. Siraha District Public Health Office chief Dr Daya Shankarlal Karna said there has been acute shortage of medicine and surgical equipment in the both government and private hospitals. Meanwhile, nine-year-old, Surekha Kumari Sadaya, a tuberculosis patient of Chandraayodhyapur-4, said she is deprived of medicine.