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National

September 6, 2018

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Senate body asks DRAP to present drug pricing policy

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Wednesday recommended unanimously that Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) must present an overall drug pricing policy as well as a complete list of medicines whose rates have been revised since the inception of this regulatory body.

It was revealed during the meeting held here that omeprazole and esomeprazole were the only two drugs whose prices had been regulated by Drap since it came into being in 2013. The Senate body meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh of MQM-Pakistan. Attended by Senator Dr Muhammad Ghous, Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani and senior officers of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and its attached departments, the meeting discussed in detail the implementation status of the recommendations made in the previous meeting that was held on August 10, 2018.

As recommended by the committee unanimously in the last meeting that the report on the “The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema House (Repeal) Bill 2018 may be presented in the forthcoming session of the Senate. The committee was informed the report has been presented on the last session on August 27, 2018.

While discussing issues of recognition of the CPSP Certificate in the UAE; the committee stressed the need to take up the issue more vigorously as the future of fresh medical graduates depended on it.

The committee chairman stressed the need for quick action on the issue and said that the committee would meet the ambassador concerned and other authorities for recognition of CPSP Certification of Pakistani doctors in the UAE.

Earlier, Senators Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Sikandar Mandhro visit the Directorate the Directorate of Central Health Establishment (DoCHE) and Drug Inspectorate at Sea Port, Karachi on their own expense, as they reside in Karachi. Senator Dr Ashok Kumar informed the committee that he visited the Directorate of Central Health Establishment at Sea Port in Karachi and found that now the state of affairs had improved considerably. He further informed the committee that he will soon visit the Drug Inspectorate and Civil Surgeon Office in Karachi along with Senator Dr Sikandar Mandhro.

On the MIS development tender awarded by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), the committee took serious notice of huge variation between the bids given by Nespak: Rs705,52137 and Makkays: Rs1,49,8200. PMDC revealed that pre-qualification had been conducted and that after evaluation a report was submitted on May 15, 2018.

Five companies applied and three firms (Nespak, Makkays and Cyber Vision) were shortlisted on account of fulfilling 70 percent of the criteria set by PMDC that took into consideration profile, work history in the government sector, details of 10 large scale projects with contact reference and valid registrations with FBR and PSEB. It was revealed that Cyber Vision was later dropped due to lapse of time. The committee directed PMDC to ensure that due diligence was conducted to ensure that no loopholes remain and that the selected company completes the project within the rates quoted. It was further stressed that PMDC ensures that quality of work is not compromised.

The committee took notice of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Ordinance which is currently with the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulation. The committee strictly objected to the document being called an ‘Ordinance’ and recommended that it rather be addressed as ‘Amendment’. The committee chairman called on the ministry to ensure that this document is not used for ulterior motives.

Examining directions of the committee to the Health and Over the Counter (OTC) Division to furnish details about how many applicants have applied for registrations and how many were issued form-6, form-7 and pending cases, it was informed that after promulgation of SRO 412(I)/2014, there was a huge influx of applications for enlistments of firms and products.

Almost all applications were incomplete because many firms without manufacturing quality control facility applied for their enlistment. The EEC rejected 1461 applications which were put up during the period of 2014-2015. Later those firms reapplied in 2016. It was observed that almost 50 percent of those applications were incomplete.

Contesting these claims, the committee chairman said that these applications were pending and had not been rejected on grounds that had these applications been rejected in 2014, their details would not have been found on the Health and OTC Division website.

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