ISLAMABAD - The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has informed the Supreme Court that M/s Everest Pharmaceutical firm had been involved in importing thousands of KGs of raw material through 39 fake and fabricated import authorisations.

The DRAP further informed that it had issued only one import authorisation to the firm under Drug (Import & Export) Rules 1976.

It stated that the information was transpired when the National Task Force (NTF), after seizing more than 650 drums and cartons of 167 different raw materials from Islamabad, wrote a letter to Customs Karachi for record of import.

“Accordingly, a letter was written to Deputy Collector G-II Aprraisement (West) Karachi for providing complete import record of pharmaceutical raw materials imported by M/s Everest Pharmaceuticals during the last three years along with copies of ADC stamped invoices submitted by the firm.  The Customs Collectorate has provided 40 invoices stamped by Assistant Drug Controller along with records of pharmaceutical raw material imported by M/s Everest Pharmaceutical,” DRAP’s report stated.

“On scrutiny of the record it transpired that only one import authorisation was issued from the DRAP office Islamabad while following 39 import authorisations were never issued from any office of DRAP under Drug (Import & Export) Rules 1976. Since these import authorisations are fake, the import of pharmaceutical raw materials stand illegal in violation of Drug Act 1976 read with Drug (Import & Export) Rules 1976,” it added. Most of the supplier companies belong to China and India from which thousands of KGs of chemicals were being imported.

The top court on March 13 had directed for preparation of roadmap for eradication of unregistered and spurious drugs while hearing a Human Rights case after which the National Task Force (NTF) was established comprising Federal Inspector of Drugs and provincial health regulators in order to launch a joint and effective campaign against unregistered and spurious drugs.

Deputy Director Legal Affairs Aamar Latif submitted a comprehensive report on behalf of the DRAP regarding one-month activities of National Task Force for eradication of spurious and unregistered drugs.

The report stated that the NTF conducted inspections throughout the country and seized unregistered and spurious drugs.  It said that 610 inspections were conducted in Punjab, 63 in Sindh, 293 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), 76 in Balochistan, 11 in Gilgit Baltistan, 69 in AJK and 95 inspections were carried out in ICT.

Total of 925 violations of the DRAP Act 2012 were identified during the inspection. The number of cases regarding sale of unregistered drugs are 118, number of cases regarding sale of drugs without warranty or false warranty are 270, number of cases regarding sale of drugs without drug sale license are 245, number of cases regarding sale of drugs without qualified persons are 47, number of cases regarding sale of expired drugs are 40, number of cases regarding sale of misbranded drugs are 29, number of cases regarding sale of counterfeit drugs are 5, number of cases regarding sale of adulterated drugs are 3, number of cases regarding unsatisfactory storage conditions are 81, number of cases regarding sale of controlled drugs without sale purchase records are 85 and number of cases regarding sale or stocking of government property are 2. 

The cases of Federal Inspector of Drugs (FID) were placed before the Central Licensing Board (CLB) on the basis of seizure reports. The CLB considered 32 cases of unregistered/ spurious drugs and sealing.  In 23 cases, permission of registration of FIR against the accused persons has been granted by the CLB including 15 cases of M/s Everest Pharmaceuticals Islamabad.

In most of the cases, the violations include manufacturing and sale of unregistered drugs, import of raw material without obtaining drug import license and clearance from DRAP and issuance of false warranties.

Similarly in most of the cases CLB decided the permission for safe custody of the seized stocks of therapeutic drugs to Federal Inspector Drug till the finalization of the case.

The FID took 109 samples during the campaign wherein 16 samples fulfil the standards, 4 samples are sub-standard and suspect of allopathic ingredients confirmed in 11 samples.

Likewise, 1 sample was not identified, 14 samples were unregistered and result of 63 samples is awaited.

As far as details of cases registered by Provincial Governments against the management of M/s Everest Pharmaceuticals Islamabad for manufacturing of unregistered and spurious drugs are concerned, 102 cases are registered in Punjab and 22 in Sindh. 8 cases are registered in KPK, 3 in Balochistan, 4 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 4 cases are registered in Islamabad.

“M/s Everest Pharmaceuticals Islamabad also supplied unregistered, spurious, sub-standard drugs to government institutions of Punjab and Sindh province,” the report stated adding that provincial health departments have been requested to provide the relevant information.

The in-charges of government hospitals in Sindh have been intimated to not to utilize the stock procured and payments of supplied stores may be stopped either through accounts office or through concerned banks, the report added.

License of M/s Everest Pharmaceuticals Islamabad has been cancelled by CLB and the sealing period has been extended till the decision of the case by the court of competent jurisdiction.

DRAP prayed before the top court to issue directions for arrest of three absconding persons namely Dr. Kamran Izhar Qureshi, Noor Muhammad and Mian Ishtiaq Ahmed nominated in the case with FIA Islamabad.

It also prayed for directions to Pakistan Customs, NAB and FIA to probe into the matter of preparing fabricated import authorizations and release of pharmaceutical raw materials in violation of the Drugs Act 1976 without obtaining import license.