islamabad - Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan will expedite registration of cancer and hepatitis-C medicines on priority basis, reviewing the earlier procedure, a statement said on Wednesday.

The statement said that a meeting of the task committee of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination to ensure availability of essential drugs was held here, chaired by Dr Sheikh Akhter Hussain, CEO DRAP and attended by the Saeed Khan, Secretary Health Gilgit-Baltistan, representative of health department from governments of Sindh, AJK and directors of DRAP.

The CEO briefed the participants on the steps taken in compliance with recommendations of Federal Ombudsman’s report, including introduction of CTD as per WHO format for drug registration, inclusion of updated version of international pharmacopeia for specification and testing of drugs, 2D bar-coding on pharmaceutical products’ packaging and disposal of pending cases of price fixation and registration of drugs.

The meeting was told that the registration board had decided to consider essential and critically-needed medicines and public-health urgency like anti-cancer drug, immunosuppressant and anti-viral for treatment of disease like Hepatitis-C and related drugs through expedited review process.

During the last one year, around 100 such drugs have been registered. Furthermore, the Authority in collaboration with provincial health departments is establishing a vigilance system to monitor drug reaction. Online reporting portal is available on DRAP’s website, where healthcare professional, pharmaceutical companies and patients can submit a report related to drugs, the meeting was told.

It was stressed that provincial health departments should improve supply-chain system on scientific basis to ensure availability of lifesaving drugs and issuing directions to all public and private hospitals to develop hospital formularies based on national essential medicine list.