LAHORE -  Despite the passage of two weeks when FIA seized unregistered stents from Mayo Hospital and the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the matter, Provincial Quality Control Board could not issue directions to register a case against those responsible for it.

In addition, another spurious dugs case has been lying pending with Provincial Quality Control Board since April 2016 for permission of registration of an FIR, said an FIA officer seeking anonymity.

As per Section 19(6) of Drug Act, 1976, a provincial or federal drug inspector has to report seizure of spurious drugs to PQCB or appellate board and seek permission for registration of a case. But PQCB meets occasionally due to which most of the time many critical issues remain pending with it for permission of a case registration.

Sources said amendments were made to Drug Rules, 2015, to expedite the case registration process, but chemist and pharmacist associations opposed it and got a stay order from a court against the decision, said a health official.

An FIA investigator said they were working on the issue day and night and the Supreme Court of Pakistan had given them go-head to probe the issue.

In the report, FIA said, one of its teams raided Mayo Hospital and found Messrs Pak Punjab Caredex Medical System and Messrs Saving Life Technology involved in selling stents in an illegal manner at a lab of the hospital in connivance with the head of the cardiac ward.

The record showed, according to the FIA, 91 stents each of the two companies had been implanted into patients from October 2016 to January 12, 2017, through self-purchase by the patients.

These stents were sold by private persons in an illegal manner at the hospital’s lab and, during the verification from DRAP, the stents recovered from the salesman bearing brand `DESyne’ (Ireland) and `eucatech’ (Germany) were found to be unregistered, the FIA stated.

In another case, FIA recovered spurious and unregistered drugs worth Rs 4 million from DHQ Hospital Jhang. As per details, Cylex Pharma, owned by Riyasat Bhatti of Vehari, manufactured ‘Roxitharomycine’ a chewable anti-biotic tablet after preparing fake registration letter of Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP). One tablet cost Rs 1.50 while it was being sold for Rs 27.

The Punjab government issued tenders for the supply of the said medicine in 2015 to Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Rajanpur and Jhang districts. Tenders were approved and supply was started, but the Pakpattan health EDO refused to receive the medicine, saying it was not a registered drug. Later, other districts except Jhang which received the medicine worth Rs. 4 million also refused to accept it.

The FIA received information that unregistered medicine was being supplied to different districts on which it got registration letter of the medicine and sent the same to the DRAP authorities for verification. The DRAP authorities did not verify the letter, declaring it fake.

Then FIA and drug staff conducted a raid, recovered spurious drugs and sent a report to DRAP for registration of a case, but no action has been taken so far by DRAP despite the passage of 10 months.

The FIA officer said, “I have personally visited the offices of the chief secretary, additional chief secretary and secretary to bring the matter into their notice for action, but they remained unmoved.” He said FIA Punjab Director Dr Usman Anwar also tried to contact the said officers repeatedly for action, but to no avail.