Islamabad - The Drug Regularity Authority Pakistan (DRAP) has begun the process of filling the posts of Federal Drug Inspectors (FDI) with the first ‘controversial’ transfer in the department, an official told The Nation on Monday.

Earlier, legislative bodies of the National Assembly and Senate on health had directed for making appointments of FDIs to ensure quality of drugs manufacturing industry.

An official of DRAP informed The Nation that the authority had initiated the process of hiring FDIs and first transfer in this regard has been made in the federal capital. “However, the process has begun with a ‘controversial’ posting of an official against the criteria required for the said post,” official said.

As per notification available with The Nation, an Assistant Director (AD) from QA&LT Division DRAP has been transferred as 3rd FDI in Islamabad.

Already there are two FDIs are working in the capital and this is the 3rd appointment in this regard.

However, the source informed The Nation that the appointed official does not fulfill the required criteria against the post.

As per The Drugs (Federal Inspectors, Federal Drug Laboratory & Federal Government Analysts) Rules 1976, a FDI shall be a person who has a degree in Pharmacy from a Pakistani University or any other institution recognised for this purpose by the federal government and has for a period of, or for periods, aggregating, not less than ten years, practical experience in, (i) the manufacture, testing or analysis of drugs, or (ii) in drug administration.

However, rules also states: “Provided that the condition of experience may be relaxed in exceptionally deserving cases or for persons with higher qualifications or where the candidates with requisite experience are not ready available.”

According to rules, the federal government may, by notification in the official gazette, for the exercise of such powers as may be specified in such notification, appoint as ex-officio inspector any officer of the medical or public health department, who is registered medical practitioner or any officer who is working in the drugs administration of a Government who has degree in medicine or Science or Pharmacy or any person having similar qualifications working as a teacher in any pharmaceutical or medical educational institution.

The official said that the posted official does not hold the required experience mentioned in the rules and has been transferred against the post on ‘special contacts’.

Talking to The Nation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) DRAP Aslam Afghani said that following the legislative bodies, the authority had started the process of hiring FDIs in the country.

He said after the federal capital, authority will make five appointments in other provinces also.

“Two FDIs will be appointed in Lahore and Karachi each, while one will be appointed in Peshawar,” he said.

Dr Aslam also said that the new officials will work as ‘supporting staff’ with senior FDIs.

“There is already shortage of FDIs and the government has directed to appoint new officials to keep check on quality of drugs,” he said.

According to him, new officials will not enjoy full powers of FDI post and work as trainees initially. “However new FDIs will also be appointed who will be given jurisdiction of action,” he said.

He declared the posting of FDI official in the federal capital as per rules and transparent as it allows appointment in special cases.

“There is a shortage of FDIs in authority so it has initiated the process to support the process on this stage,” he said.

Dr Aslam also said that complete criteria was not followed previously also as filling of such posts are not simple process.

He also said that the process of new appointments is deliberately being opposed by some quarters as their ‘vested’ interests are being harmed.

“Some quarters that are facing or will face inquiries in the future are making the process controversial ,” he said.