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May 29, 2020

Consignments of N95 masks stuck at ports

Business

May 29, 2020

KARACHI: Several consignments of N95 masks are stuck at the ports, as the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has refused to grant no objection certificate to commercial importers for sale or distribution of the masks in the market. Importer Sharjeel Jamal said customs authorities are asking for DRAP no-objection certificate vide SRO32 of DRA Act, which is not meant for N95 masks.

Deputy Collector of Customs Tauseef Gorchani said consignments were stuck due to non-provision of NoC from DRAP. “These are medical respirators and there are certain conditions for import and clearance of medical devices,” said Gorchani. “It is the responsibility of DRAP to issue NoCs and we cannot release these goods without completing the requirements.”

DRAP is issuing NoC for the import of N95 masks subject to certain conditions, which include that these goods would not be sold or distributed in the market and they would be used in the hospital or institution only and not for the purpose of clinical trial, examination, test or analysis. Importer should be fully responsible for the quality, safety and performance of the said medical devices. Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Vice President Khurram Aijaz said consignments of medical devices, including respiratory masks, are stuck and only those importers having supply contracts from hospitals or similar institutions are able to obtain NoC from the DRAP.

“Commercial import and sale of these masks is not allowed, which has caused severe shortage and price hike of these goods,” Aijaz said.