islamabad       -       The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) allegedly prioritised the import of typhoid vaccine involving billions of funds paid by international bodies, instead of focusing on manufacturing the required quantity in country, The Nation learned on Saturday.

The DRAP’s senior official expressing concerns on import of the Indian made Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) wrote a letter to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) DRAP on prioritising the import of the typhoid vaccine in a hustle instead of working comprehensively on the required quantity of vaccine.

Interestingly, Deputy Director DRAP Dr. Obaid Ali wrote the letter in the capacity of parent and expressed serious concerns on the supplementary immunisation activity of anti-typhoid vaccine in Sindh.

“I, being a father appreciate your concern and initiatives (on typhoid), but I need to know the following to diminish my apprehension and anxiety,” he said.

Raising questions, he wrote, what is the disease pattern, how it is picked as front burner priority and taken as supplementary immunisation.

The deputy director of DRAP also urged that why this vaccine is not yet registered in Pakistan by the competent statutory authority i.e. DRAP.

He also asked DRAP why about Rs3 billion were paid to Bharat Biotech, India (no matter even if it is paid through GAVI) for this vaccine and why manufacturing facility is not installed here in our country with this huge amount of money.

The official also raised the question that why Lot Release has not been done here in Pakistan National Control Laboratory and responsible under the Act of Parliament.

Talking to The Nation Dr. Obaid Ali said that around one million people are infected with the disease globally while 30 per cent lose their lives.

 He said that according to the stats in Pakistan, around 600,000 people are affected with the disease and the DRAP urged the international donors to get vaccine which costs Rs3 billion.

 “Earlier, Pakistan was able to manufacture the typhoid vaccine in country, but now the top officials prioritise import of the vaccine,” he said.

Responding to The Nation, CEO DRAP Asim Rauf said that the funding and purchasing of the vaccine was done by international donors like UNICEF and WHO as it is their project.

He said the international health bodies had identified special kind of typhoid virus and recommended immunisation to control it.

Responding to the question of registration, he said that there is a provision in law that a medicine could be imported without registration in case of emergency. “In normal situation drug is imported after the registration,” he maintained.

Responding to the query asked regarding lab test of the vaccine before immunisation, the CEO DRAP said that it needs to be checked whether the vaccine was tested in lab before immunisation or not.

Meanwhile, Dr. Obaid Ali said that DRAP allegedly did not do any clinical trial of the vaccine which is compulsory matter.

“If any quality defects in product or safety affairs related to particular lot emerge, how will they be addressed and to whom responsibility will be fixed,” he said.

 He also added that numerous questions and concerns are reserved for DRAP with regard to prioritisation settings as well as safety, efficacy, quality of the lot being used.