ISLAMABAD – The government’s negligence towards the health sector can be judged from the fact that the Drug Regulatory Agency Ordinance (DRAO) 2012 that was promulgated on February 16 is yet to be presented in the National Assembly to convert it into an Act.

The ordinance in coming May would lapse then there will be no agency to control pricing of drugs, quality assurance, import/export and issuing licenses to drug manufacturers among other details.

An official shared the information during an International Pharmacy Conference that kicked off on Thursday organized by Pakistan Pharmacist Association (PPA). 

According to the information, the Drug Regulatory Agency of Pakistan (DRAP) was established after the promulgation of DRAO by the President Asif Ali Zardari on February 16. “Within a period of three months after the promulgation of the ordinance, it had to be presented in the Lower House in order to give it the status of an ‘Act’ after approval from both of the Houses but as the two months have been passed, no step has been taken so far by the government to place the ordinance in the National Assembly and unfortunately, after May 16 the ordinance would be lapsed,” the official informed.

According to the information, the government has also not appointed permanent CEO of the agency and secretary of the newly-established ministry, Faridullah Khan, Ministry of National Regulation & Service, has been given the acting charge of the agency.

Faridullah Khan, Secretary, Ministry of National Regulation & Service, Sardar Shabbir General Secretary of PPA, and Prof. Dr. Azhar Hussain Vice President PPA were among the participants of the conference.

While addressing the audience during the conference, Faridullahsaid that pharmacists are the custodian of medicines, and government will continue its support in further to enhance the Pharmacy Industry in Pakistan. He urged them to end unethical practices from the market and ensure the availability of life saving drugs.

He maintained that it’s a third largest industry in the country and by sticking to international standards they can grab a handsome share from US 700 billion of global market of pharmacy. 

More than 2000 professional participants belonging to diverse fields of pharmacy, health and government functionaries have been taking part in a three-day conference and exhibition where the companies have set up their stalls displaying their products.

Earlier, delivering his welcoming address at the conference, Sardar Shabbir General Secretary PPA, expressed that PPA is the sole representative body of pharmacist registered under the Societies Act, and was acknowledged in the Pharmacy Act, 1967.

Prof. Dr. Azhar Hussain, Vice President of PPA, said that the health costs could be reduced by consulting with the pharmacists adding that they could play a vital rote in era of increasing health costs.