ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi on Tuesday arrested eight accused persons in a mega corruption case involving drug companies.

According to the NAB report,  Dr Muhammad Ali (the then secretary-cum-member Drugs Pricing Committee), ex-member pricing (BPS-21) DRAP, Ahsan Feroze, director of M/s Maple Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd,  Arif Aziz Akhai, proprietor M/s Akhai Agencies, Amir Saddique,  director of Excel Health Care Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Saifur Rehman and Khalilur Rehman, directors of M/s Galaxy Pharma (Pvt)  Ltd,  Rizwan Umer and  Muqtadir MA Javaid, directors of M/s Martin Dow Ltd were included in the accused list.

The accused persons’ wrongfully derived financial benefits by the eight pharmaceutical companies on the basis of price increase to the tune of Rs1,078.08 million out of which an amount of Rs400 million has already been recovered.

Muhammad Saleem Ahmad Khan, Investigation Officer, NAB Rawalpindi submitted in the court that the members of the Drug Pricing Committee (DPC) in connivance with beneficiary Pharma companies extended undue financial benefits to pharmaceutical firms in the shape of illegal and unjustified price increase of their drugs through DPC meeting held on October 9, 2012 and January 22, 2013 and subcommittee meeting held on November 19, 2012.

The wrongful financial benefits derived by the eight pharmaceutical companies  on the basis of price increase through above said meetings comes to Rs1,078.08million till June 30, 2015 (out of which one Pharma  company M/s RG Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd returned  an amount of Rs385.12 million  after deducting retailer and distributor margin.

This illegal benefit is perpetually being gained by the pharmaceutical firms who submitted inflated invoices, incomplete costing data and were selling of their drugs on prices, which were illegally increased by the members of the DPC.

As per details, the NAB received a complaint wherein it was alleged that the officials of the Ministry of National Health Regulations Services Division, and others were involved in illegal increase in prices of drugs through Drugs Pricing Committee meetings.

The prices of the drugs were fixed as per section 12 of the Drugs Act 1976 by Drugs Pricing Committee (DPC) duly constituted by the federal government. 

During the process of Investigation, it was revealed that the Pharmaceutical companies in connivance with accused officers submitted incomplete/incorrect and inflated invoices to the DRAP for fixation of drugs prices at exorbitant rates.

Due to illegal price hike in the DPC meetings held on October 9, 2012 and January 22, 2013 and sub-committee meeting held on November 19, 2012 approximately Rs1,078.08 million has been pocketed by these pharmaceutical companies causing unbearable burden on the general public.

In this case, two accused persons namely, Tariq Haider and Mian Muhammad Khalid were arrested but released by the Accountability Court after payment of their liability of Rs380 million.

The Director-General NAB Rawalpindi, Attiqur Rehman, has said that the NAB under the leadership of NAB chairman was committed to eradicating corruption by adopting a policy of zero tolerance across the board.

He appreciated Muhammad Saleem Ahmad Khan, investigation officer, NAB Rawalpindi, for putting extra effort in nabbing the accused.