Punjab Drugs Amendments Act 2017 to be passed in the coming Punjab Assembly Session

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 Punjab Law Minister’s assurance to PPMA

Punjab Drugs Amendments Act 2017 to be passed
in the coming Punjab Assembly Session

Reiterates Government resolve to provide business friendly
environment and elimination of Drugs Inspectors Mafia

From our correspondent

LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has assured the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) that the Punjab Drugs Amendments Act 2017 will be presented in the forthcoming Punjab Assembly session and passed. He was addressing the participants of the Pakistan Pharma Summit-III organized by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association here on July 24th2017. He also gave reasons why this could not be passed so far as negotiations were going on between the government and the pharma industry representatives. When the Bill was first passed, there was lot of hue and cry from the industry and it was felt to have dialogue to improve it further after discussions with the stake holders as our objective is to provide safe, effective drugs to the people at affordable prices.

The Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif had constituted a Cabinet Committee and we held detailed discussions with the representatives of the pharma industry. We were able to identify seven points where there were some differences. He disclosed that after discussions they had reached complete agreement on five points while some reservations of the industry remain on the remaining two points and we are hoping to find a solution to them as well. The details of the points on which agreement has been reached are with PPMA representatives. The only two points which remain to be settled relate to the Drug Inspectors role and the referring the matter to reference laboratory if the samples are declared sub-standard. The industry wish that they should have the option to refer the matter not to one laboratory only but they should have the option of two to three laboratories.

Government of Punjab, Rana Sanaullah remarked has successfully eliminated different Mafias. To begin with we eliminated the Patwari Mafia once the all land records were computerized. We have taken some police reforms. Foods Inspector Mafia was eliminated by establishing the Punjab Food Authority which was doing a good job. Similar is the case with Audit. It is well known that people from the audit department go to various departments, get some gifts and prepare the report. On the other hand there are well established audit firms and if they issue some certificate, it is accepted and respected everywhere. Hence, we are planning to acquire the services of reputed audit firms for this purpose.  It is also well known that Drugs Inspector Mafia is very strong and sub-standard, counterfeit drugs cannot be eliminated because of them. Hence, we wish to eliminate this Drugs Inspectors Mafia as well. We will take appropriate measures so that the Drug Inspectors Mafia could not create problems for you.

The measures being taken by the Punjab Government should be appreciated by the licensed drug manufactures and they should not have any fears. On the contrary they should welcome these steps because it will help them once those producing drugs without any license and those involved in counterfeit drugs are taken care of. These drug manufactures who are involved in counterfeit drugs and producing drugs without any license are bringing bad name to the whole pharmaceutical industry. Having listened to a few presentations in the Summit, he was happy to note that the pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan was serious to improve its image and was also conscious of making available quality drugs. It will not only promote their business but will also go a long way in increasing Drugs exports from Pakistan, he added.

Earlier Dr. Kaiser Waheed Chairman PPMA in his welcome address pointed out that drug manufacturers in Punjab in particular were worried about doing business because they fear that they might find themselves in Jail as the measures suggested in the Punjab Drugs Act were very harsh. He thanked the Punjab Law Minister to accept their invitation to attend the Pharma Summit and personally clarify certain points related to the Punjab Drugs Amendments Act 2017. On arrival the Punjab Law Minister was received by Chairman PPMA Dr. Kaiser Waheed, Mr. Haroon Qasim Chairman Pakistan Pharma Summit-III and other office bearers of PPMA.The Minister also presented mementoes to the speakers and organizers of the Summit.

Speaking in the inaugural session Mr. Haroon Qasim Chairman of the Pakistan Pharma Summit-III pointed out that globally all health economics are facing similar challenges and we in Pakistan are no exception. Rising cost of doing business, changing demographics  as people live longer with chronic disease and educated patients are putting pharma industry to the test and demands the transition to an industry that answer their needs, fears and aspirations. Regulatory bodies within the country and across the Globe are planning to implement the process of serialization interim systems to ensure patient safety and save patients from counterfeit drugs. He appreciated the efforts being made by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for its futuristic approach and urged it to work in partnership with the industry rather in than confronting an issuing SROs.

Scientific programme of the Pakistan Pharma Summit-III was spread over two days and four sessions. Mr. Jawed Akhai Chairman Martin Dow made a thematic presentation on Pakistan Pharma Industry. Dr. Sarfraz K. Niazi a renowned Biosimilar Pioneer from USA delivered the Key note speech on “New Emerging Therapeutics and Regulatory Imperatives”. Mr. Adnan Rizvi talked on Pursuing Growth through Mergers and Acquisitions. There was a panel discussion on Reshaping Pakistan’s Pharmaceutical Industry-Challenges and Opportunities while two other panel discussions were on Regulatory Guidelines- Present and Future Scenario and Pharmaceutical Exports-Current trends and Emerging Markets. Another guest speaker from overseas Dr. Rana Roth-Ehrang from Germany made a presentation on Phytopharmaceuticals- Innovations, Quality and Regulatory issues. On second day of the Summit, there was a post conference Master Class by Dr. Sarfraz K. Niazi on Bringing Harmony to Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry. Detailed reports about the presentations in the Summit to follow.

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