ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of National Regulation and Services has decided to regulate and monitor the homoeopathic and herbal medicines sector of Pakistan that would add up to 40 per cent in the overall export of the medicines.

Federal Minister for National Regulations & Services Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan informed the media persons after attending the Policy Board of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) here on Monday.

First meeting of the Policy Board was held in the Ministry of NR&S, under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of the Ministry Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the provincial governments and the experts in the fields of pharmaceuticals and alternate medicines systems.

The minister said after the formation of DRAP, it has been decided to have a solid regulation system of homoeopathic and herbal medicines. She said the homeopathic and herbal medicines were not regulated in the country that was why neither proper monitoring mechanism to regulate these medicines could be established nor the medicines could be exported.

In order to make an effective authority Minister In charge highlighted that new disciplines i.e. IT, alternate medicine finance legal and controlled drugs have been created to meet international commitment, enhanced coordination and to bring harmony in inter-provincial trade and commerce of therapeutic goods.

The minister informed that clinical trials of the medicines would also be conducted in Pakistan from now onwards. A pharmacy section will also be established that would have a complete check and balance system for spurious or sub-standard medicines.

She admitted that the DRAP has been facing the financial constraints but when the proper registration, licensing and fine collection process of the medicines will start, the financial issues will be resolved naturally.

The minister informed to clear the back log of 14,000 pending drug registration applications, a fast track plan of action for registration of 14,000 has been laid down and those pharmaceutical companies who want to register their drugs at the earliest could pay double or triple fee to get the registration done on priority.

She also shared that the ministry has decided to hold the meeting of the pricing board every 15 days in order to accelerate the process of deciding these pending cases.

The minister said the policy board would decide and formulate the rules to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DRAP at permanent basis and after the formulation of these rules and the post of CEO will be advertised in newspapers.

According to information, the members of the board showed their concerns on the appointment of board directors when the rules of the authority still has to be made. Ex-officio member from Sindh criticized the composition of the board and it was also highlighted that the appointed directors do not meet the criteria.

The presence of the minister in the meeting is also being criticized as direct intervention in decision-making of the body, as according to officials; under the DRAP ordinance the minister cant not attend the meetings of the licensing, registration and pricing committees of the DRAP.