The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has developed some very questionable policies. Around the world, alternative or herbal medicine is supposed to be the cheaper option as compared to regular medicine, but in Pakistan, herbal medicines are allowed prices that are 500% higher than regular medicines by DRAP.

Similarly, foreign pharmaceutical companies manufacturing medicines on a large scale in Pakistan are allowed 250% higher prices by DRAP, as compared to local manufacturers of Pakistan.

Moreover, while our country’s health ministry is alarmed by the stunting growth of population due to malnutrition, DRAP has not allowed any new multivitamin medicine registration since 2008, claiming they are waiting to develop a multivitamin policy. However, they have been allowing the registration of herbal vitamins with misleading claims on packages and no testing of products.

I therefore request the Prime Minister to look into the affairs of DRAP and appoint an honest leader. He can also direct DRAP to keep prices of herbal medicines lower than regular medicines, and no higher prices of foreign brand pharmaceuticals to be allowed anymore. To reduce imports of vitamins, DRAP should issue their multivitamins policy and provide 5 free multivitamin registrations to each pharmaceutical company in 2019, to enhance its production quickly. The multivitamin medicines also have the greatest export potential, so this issue needs to be looked into.

ENGR SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,

Peshawar, March 2.