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April 14, 2021

Young pharmacists seek action over corruption

National

April 14, 2021

Islamabad: The Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association (PYPA) has demanded strict action against the former and current officials of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) over 'massive corruption'.

In a letter, PYPA general secretary Dr Furqan Ibrahim asked International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva for intervention to ensure that the Pakistani authorities complete inquiries into the DRAP financial and administrative irregularities for the recovery of embezzled funds and punishment of the culpable officials.

He insisted that the Auditor General of Pakistan had detected Rs2.413 billion worth of ‘embezzlement of funds and maladministration’ in the DRAP from the financial year 2018 through 2020 but action hadn't been taken on it.

Dr Furqan also claimed that the DRAP had enlisted more than 20,000 medicines from 2014 to 2020 without price fixation and registration, so those medicines were sold in the country at prices as high as 100 times more than those of the registered ones.

“There is no word of enlistment in the Drugs Act, 1976. Under Section 7(8) of the Act, a single ingredient drug shall be registered by its generic name but violating it, the DRAP is registering drugs by their proprietary names, the main reason for exorbitant increase in drug prices in the country,” he said.

The PYPA general secretary also alleged that the people at the helm had taken away the records of drug registration and pricing for own protection from possible legal action. He said under the law, the names of all medicines registered in the country should be printed in the Official Gazette of Pakistan, called National Formulary of Pakistan, but that hadn’t happened for the last four decades.

“The National Formulary of Pakistan hasn't been printed since 1981, so no one from patients to pharmacists to doctors can know about medicine formulations and prices at the time of prescription or purchase,” he said. Dr Furqan also alleged irregularities in the DRAP’s administrative affairs, including illegal promotions, award of contracts, and drug price hikes over the years.