LAHORE- Drug Regulation Authority Pakistan(DRAP) which is an autonomous body and symbol of control, regulation, enforcement and implementation of legal framework, besides registration of drugs, has been running without a Chief executive since its establishment in February 16, 2012. This has resulted in improper monitoring of drugs prices, health source said.
The aims and objectives of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan are to prevent the sale of fake, substandard and non-registered medicines, stop hoarding, monitoring of drug prices, etc. But due to the absence of its regular chief for the last three years, its drug prices monitoring system is dysfunctional.
Here one thing is to highlight necessarily that when in December, 2013 prices of drugs were raised by 15 percent, of which after two days, the Premier – Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took notice and withdrew the raise in prices. At that time, some fifteen companies had challenged the withdrawal of drug prices by Prime Minister and got a stay-order, which is still effective due to absence of a regular chief of DRAP. In this way, needy patients have been forced to pay more for medicines.
According to a health survey conducted by Medicare Health Foundation, around 1500 poor patients including children and old people have expired due to lack of medicines or money to purchase medicines.
In November 2012 the then President of Pakistan – Asif Ali Zardari had also signed the Drug Regulation Authority Bill, but both the successive governments had failed to appoint a regular head of this authority.
As per the composition of authority, it has 13 Directors, which include Director Pharmaceutical Evaluations & Registration.
Director Drug Licensing, Director Quality Assurance & Laboratory testing, Director Medical Devices and Medical Cosmetics, Director Biological Drugs, Director Controlled Drugs, Director Pharmacy Services, Director Health & OTC Products (non-Drugs), Director Costing & Pricing, Director Budget & Accounts Director Administration, Human Resource & Logistics, Director Legal Affairs, Director Management of Information.
This authority also has representation of Ministry of Law & Justice, one each member of Secretary of concerned Department. Governments of Balochistan, Sindh, KPK, Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and six experts from public and private sector with equal representation from each province.