ISLAMABAD      -       Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) gave the captain’s cap of National Task Force (NTF) on drug laws implementation to an official accused in ephedrine case, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

Documents available with The Nation said that following the federal cabinet direction, Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) in October nominated its Additional Director (AD) Abdul Sattar Sohrani as focal person for NTF, despite he was a nominated accused in Rs7 billion worth ephedrine case.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had registered a case against all accused in June 2012 under various sections of the Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS).

As per the order of special court issued on 11.07.2019, the accused DRAP official on bail was present on the hearing along with nine other accused individuals in the case.

Documents also said that the ephedrine case accused official was also given four important additional responsibilities in the department along with nominating him as focal person of NTF.

As per documents, AD DRAP Abdul Sattar Sohrani is holding portfolio of focal person on NTF, Federal Inspected of Drugs (FID) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) AD QA&LT, and Deputy Director (DD) QC-I.

A core committee headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan was formed to review the progress report of NTF in previous month.

“Monthly report of NTF activities will be submitted to worthy Minister for onward submission to the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” said the document. The core committee comprising of provincial chief drug inspectors, directors of drug testing laboratories, additional directors of DRAP at its regional offices and director central drug testing laboratory was also constituted in the meeting, said documents.

Documents also added that provincial chief drug inspectors and additional directors DRAP filed offices will act as focal persons for the respective provinces. In the meeting held in previous month on NTF, it was unanimously decided that the NTF will work within legal framework of Drug Act 1976, DRAP Act 2012 and rules framed there under.

Documents also added that National Task Force “shall be responsible to eradicate the spurious, unregistered, adulterated, substandard, and counterfeit therapeutic goods. It also said that overpricing of drugs above the approved MRP will also be included in the mandate of National Task Force.

The Nation contacted Ministry of NHS regarding appointment of ephedrine case accused as focal person NTF, spokesperson of the ministry Sajid Shah said “being accused does not make anyone convict.” He said that ministry of NHS and its all departments are being reformed and passing through a transitional period.

Ministry spokesperson said that government has zero tolerance for corruption, but it also has to utilise the available human resource for implementation of the reforms.

He said that a file regarding appointment of permanent directors in DRAP has been moved and soon the vacuum in administrative affairs of the department will be filled.

Sajid Shah said that major changes are been brought in the health sector and ministry is heading towards smooth transition in its departments.

“Soon positive results will emerge in health sector,” he said.