Licensed Drug Manufacturers should be controlled, monitored through Drugs Act and DRAP


 PPMA rejects Punjab Drugs Ordinance

Licensed Drug Manufacturers should be controlled,
monitored through Drugs Act and DRAP

Supports Punjab Government’s campaign against
spurious, counterfeit drugs

KARACHI: Mr. Saeed Allawala Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufactures Association (PPMA) has rejected the Punjab Drugs Ordinance. Addressing a press conference along with other members of the Central Executive Committee Mr. Zahid Saeed, Mr. Ilyas and Mr.Amjad, the PPMA chairman said that the licensed drug manufacturers should be controlled and monitored through the Drugs Act 1976 and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). If need be, some amendments should be made in these acts but pharmaceutical industry should be monitored through the federal government and it should remain a federal subject. There was no need to have separate Drugs Ordinances by the provincial governments. However, the PPMA fully supports the Punjab Government’s action against spurious and counterfeit drugs, he remarked.

We do not doubt the good intentions of the Punjab Government and its Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Shareef but the way this ordinance has been enacted and was being implemented has created an uncertainty in the public mind as if drugs being produced in Pakistan were not of good quality. At present the total Pharma market of Pakistan Mr. Saeed Allawala said was 2.3 Billion dollars and there are about six hundred licensed drug manufactures who are meeting the 90% of drug needs of Pakistan. They are producing quality drugs at affordable prices. The current campaign initiated in Punjab was bringing a bad image to the Pharma industry as a whole. There are provisions in the Drugs Act and DRAP is fully authorized to take any action if need be and no provincial drug ordinance was needed.

Continuing Mr. Saeed Allawala said that thousands of employees work in the Pharma industry and there is a possibility of human error and such errors do occur even in United States, Europe and other developed countries and when something goes wrong, those products are recalled from the market. They are civilized people and take civilized actions to correct mistakes. However, what is happening in Pakistan was that such raids on licensed drug manufacturers followed by irresponsible statements which are then highlighted by the irresponsible media; it not only brings bad name to the country but also affects the drugs exports. PML (N) is a business friendly government and we do not expect such measures from it. In their Vision 2025 released by Mr.Ahsan Iqbal it was clearly written that no steps will be taken without consulting the professional trade bodies and their input will be taken before taking any decision. Why have they forgotten this, Mr. Saeed Allawala asked?

He agreed that with the availability of spurious and counterfeit drugs, it is not only the consumers but the Pharma industry was also suffering and we fully support action against spurious and counterfeit drug manufacturers. The raids should have been conducted against those instead of harassing the licensed drug manufacturers, he remarked. It there is anything which takes place at the licensed drug manufacturers like mistake in packing etc., there are measures to resolve this. He urged the Punjab Chief Minister to take the PPMA into confidence and we will extend all possible support to eliminate the menace of spurious and counterfeit drugs, he added.

Responding to a question if there was some communication gap between the PPMA leadership and the Government of Punjab, Mr.Saeed Allawala said that they had a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister sometime ago and a committee was also formed to look into these issues. In the meeting Mian Shahbaz Shareef had stated that the drug control administration has failed to check the menace of spurious and counterfeit drugs. However, it is not right to deal with the licensed drug manufacturers and the producers of spurious, counterfeit drugs the same way. Some one has misguided the Punjab Chief Minister and this confusion has been deliberately created to distract the Chief Minister’s attention from spurious and counterfeit drugs. Even today one of our delegations is meeting the Punjab Chief Minister and we expect some positive outcome from this meeting. He also recalled that in the recent past the Drug Inspectors started lifting huge quantity of samples. They lifted 85,000 samples for testing out of which just three samples were found sub-standard. It is for the government to check that the chemists and druggists have proper storage facilities and they keep the drugs at the required temperature. As regards their transportation, if they wish to change some rules, let them sit down with the Pharma industry and we can work out some schedule but it is not possible that you frame a rule and then start implementing from the next day, Mr. Zahid Saeed remarked. They further stated that the Government also needs to look into the fact that for government purchases they go for the lowest bidder without any regard for quality. First they should short list the quality drug manufacturers and then call for tenders so that the best quality drugs are supplied to the public hospitals as well. Mr. Zahid Saeed further stated that the government needs to strengthen its own system rather than harassing the licensed drug manufacturers.