islamabad-The government established a centre at federal level to ensure drug surveillance and promote quality and authenticity of medicines, officials said on Sunday.

Provinces have also been taken on-board for establishing the centre aimed at promoting patient safety by collecting data on adverse drug reactions as part of continuous monitoring and vigilance of marketed drugs in line with international practices. The quality and authenticity of the drugs would be checked through its efficacy and safety data directly from health professionals.

Official sources at National Health Services Division while giving details of steps taken to control sub-standard and adulterated drugs said that bar coding system (serialisation) had been notified for prompt identification of spurious/counterfeit drugs by use of smart phone application by patient, retailer, wholesale and regulator. The government has strengthened testing and analysis facilities to promote quality of medicine through various trainings for identification of counterfeit, sub-standard and falsified drugs, they said.

These facilities including central drug laboratory, Karachi have been strengthened in collaboration with World Health Organisation and United States Pharmacopeia (USP). WHO’s pre-qualification of the central drug laboratory is also under process, the sources said.

The sources said that for quality-control checks, both federal and provincial governments had their drugs testing laboratories. The federal government has a central drug laboratory at Karachi while every province has also established its drug testing laboratories for verifying quality of drugs. There are 8 drug testing laboratories, 5 in Punjab and one each in other three provincial capitals, the sources said.    

Moreover, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has initiated process of the WHO pre-qualification of the Central Drugs Testing Laboratory, Karachi to strengthen quality control of drugs used in the country.

WHO audit is expected in first half of 2018 to verify quality standards of this lab, the sources said.