islamabad - The Health Ministry is set to announce first ever National Vitamin Policy in March this year.  

CEO Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan(Drap) Aslam Afghani told a Senate panel yesterday that a new policy would regulate vitamins, nutrients and minerals in the market. “The policy is under consideration in the policy board of Drap that would be announced in March,” he said. “The new policy would end regulatory confusions between drugs and vitamins,” he added. The senate panel had suggested the drug regulator to bring about a vitamin policy and cut down the prices of hepatitis c medicines. The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination met yesterday under the chair of Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi.

The committee members voiced their concerns over not fixing hepatitis c medicine prices that is being sold on higher price. The members said thousands of products are pending for registration due to unnecessary objections, stressing the registration process be expedited.   

The senators also discussed the performance of various organisations. Senator Kalsoom Parveen remarked the National Institute of Health is a failed organisation that has done nothing except producing some vaccines. The committee members stressed the need to make indigenous vaccines according to the international standards. The health minister said out of Rs300 million research grant 92 per cent is spent on salaries while the remaining meagre amount goes to research.

Briefing the committee members that PMDC, she said, the council was an autonomous body and the ministry has no role over the regulatory body. She said that a few officials who were running the affairs misused their authority and benefit their cronies. “New medical colleges were opened and closed in the past as per their wishes and favoritism and irregularities were found in appointments,” she added.