ISLAMABAD        -          Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Thursday conducted countrywide raid against overpricing of personal protection equipment for prevention of Coronavirus (COVID-19). However, watchdogs alleged that action was mere eyewash as the masks were smuggled out of country due to negligence of the authority.

Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association (PYPA) wrote a letter to top government functionaries including Prime Minister alleging that countless number of masks were smuggled with connivance of DRAP officials.

The letter written by PYPA Secretary General Furqan Ibrahim said that the responsible officials of DRAP were aware of the alleged smuggling of the masks and huge monetary embezzlement was done.

“It resulted into severe shortage of face masks throughout Pakistan. Pakistani patients/doctors/nurses are deprived of the face masks in hospitals,” the letter said.

PYPA urged government to start an inquiry into the allegations and award strict punishment to all accused involved. 

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) said that DRAP initiated acts against overpricing of personal protection equipment against Coronavirus in the country.

Spokesperson NHS Sajid Hussaid Shah told that a countrywide raid has been conducted against the elements who are selling overpriced personal protection equipment (PPE) against Coronavirus.

DRAP has initiated strict surveillance of market for selling overpriced PPE on direction of Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr. Zafar Mirza and against complaints by general public.

The statement said DRAP published a public notice in various newspapers on 15th February 2020 to prohibit the overpricing of equipment. Public was encouraged to file complaints against such elements who were selling the equipment on higher prices than that of December 2019.

It added that Federal Inspectors of Drugs were directed to visit various medical stores, distributors and pharmacy stores to survey the prices of PPE such as N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, and other equipment used for protection against Coronavirus.

It also added that in today’s activity, five cases have been registered during raids in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.