ISLAMABAD: With the number of active cases across the country surpassing the 100,000 mark, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on Tuesday issued show-cause notices to 15 pharmaceutical companies for failing to manufacture the most commonly prescribed medicine for Covid patients, Paracetamol, which has disappeared from many pharmacies and is reportedly being sold in the black market.
In a separate development, Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former senator Rehman Malik was shifted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital after he developed Covid-related complications. A party senator confirmed that he had been put on ventilator and appealed to the masses to pray for his recovery.
While the number of new Covid-19 cases dropped to 5,327, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) recorded 32 deaths across the country over the past 24 hours. The number of patients in critical care rose to 1,500, and the national positivity rate remained at 9.65 per cent.
At a press conference, Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar appealed to the masses to get vaccinated at the earliest and urged those who have been vaccinated six months ago to go for a booster dose. According to him, 180 million vaccine doses have been administered and 2.5m people have been inoculated with booster shots across the country so far.
Speaking about the shortage of Paracetamol in the market, a Drap official requesting anonymity said demand for the painkiller had increased due to the rising number of dengue cases. While dengue season was about to end, the demand further increased because of new variant of Covid-19 for which Paracetamol was prescribed to almost every patient, the official added.
The official disclosed that on Tuesday show-cause notices were issued to the 15 companies that had stopped manufacturing the medicine despite having licences. Besides, the companies that did not stop manufacturing were directed to boost the supply, he said.