Contract of drugs national formulary challenged in IHC

Islamabad – The contract of drugs national formulary preparation awarded to a foreign company by the Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan has been challenged in court alleging financial embezzlements and violation of law, official told The Nation on Saturday.

The medicine formulary is maintained to keep the name, registration number, formulation and price of every registered medicine in the country. The DRAP had initiated the process of collecting the data of drugs being manufactured in the country.

The contract for the data collection from the medicine companies was awarded to a private firm instead of issuing the tender by following the PPRA rules, said official.

The national formulary of the drugs required to be updated after six months as per the global law and the drug Act of 1976 but the DRAP failed to issue tender for the data collection and awarded the contract to a private firm.

However, the petitioner alleged that the DRAP not only failed to update the formulary but also lost the data containing information of thousands of registered drugs.

The petitioner alleged that in 1981 there were approximately 7,000 drugs registered in the formulary which now has increased to 850,000. However, the DRAP displayed only 10,000 drugs on its website.

“Government initiated the preparation of new formulary in 2016 and tasked the Federal Inspectors of Drugs to collect the data initially, however the efforts failed and a private firm was awarded the contract in violation of government rules,” advocate Mohammad Usman Advocate said.

He said there is a huge lapse in the adopted procedure since the private pharmaceutical companies can easily distort the manufacturing price and give details to the private company.

He said that this step can possibly lead to the increase of medicine price which will shift the burden on the consumer.

“The contract awarding to a private company in violation of laws has also increased chances of financial embezzlements,” he said.

The petitioner also claimed that DRAP displayed a disclaimer on the website that the data available on its record has been lost and a request has been made to the manufacturers to provide fresh data.

“DRAP in violation of law entrusted the task of data collection from manufacturers to a foreign company known as GS1 Pakistan. This involves a great risk of providing incorrect information about the formulation, price and quality of drugs manufactured by the Pakistani pharmaceutical companies and importers of foreign drugs manufacturer which is bound to damage the Pakistani Industry,” the petition added.

The disclaimer also stated that the formulary being prepared will not be final and is provisional draft list of drugs as approved in the Drug Board.

The petitioner pleaded before the Islamabad High Court to restrain the DRAP from function of collecting information from manufacturers through a foreign agency such as GS1 Pakistan.

Under Section 8 Drug Act, 1976, the government is required to compile national formulary and publish in the official gazette of Pakistan which is required to be maintained.

Spokesperson DRAP Sajid Hussain Shah talking to The Nation said that DRAP is maintaining the data of medicines by computerising it.

He also said that nearly ten thousand medicines are always in running in the system while rest of the numbers kept changing because of change of formula or end of manufacturing.

He also said that the DRAP took strict action against illegal manufacturing of medicines to get rid of corruption in the business.


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