islamabad -  Islamabad High Court yesterday turned down bail plea of former Chairman Drugs Pricing Committee and Additional Secretary Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, Arshad Farooq Faheem in mega corruption case.

A division bench (DB) of IHC comprising of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani rejected Arshad’s bail before the arrest in a corruption case registered against top officials of Drugs Pricing Committee (DPC) for extending undue financial favours to pharmaceutical companies/firms in the shape of illegal and unjustified price increase to their drugs.

After rejection his bail from the court, the National Accountability Bureau authorities arrested the accused from outside the courtroom.  In this matter, NAB Rawalpindi has filed a corruption case in the Accountability Court against top officials of Drugs Pricing Committee (DPC) for extending undue financial favours to pharmaceutical companies/ firms in the shape of illegal and unjustified price increase to their drugs.

The reference was filed against Arshad Farooq Faheem (the then Chairman Drugs Pricing Committee) Additional Secretary (BPS-21), Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat, Dr Muhammad Ali (the then Secretary cum Member Drugs Pricing Committee) ex-Member Pricing (BPS-21) DRAP, Saleem Isharat Hussain (the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee) Chief Drug Inspector (R), Health Department Government of Sindh, Ayaz Ali Khan, the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee (Ex-Chief Drugs Controller Punjab) Chief Operating Officer Pakistan Drugs Testing and Research Centre, Lahore, Sabir Ali (the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee) Chief Drug Inspector (R) Health Department, Govt Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Abdul Salam Mufti (the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee) Chief Drug Inspector (R), Health Department Govt of Punjab, Sultan Ahmed (the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee) Senior Drug Inspector, Health Department Govt of Balochistan , Rashid Latif Sheikh (the then Member Drugs Pricing Committee) Ex-Director Cost Accounts Organization, Ministry of Finance  and seven  pharmaceutical companies M/s Maple Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd,  M/s Akhai Agencies, M/s Zam Zam Corporation, Excel Health Care Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, M/s Saffron Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd, M/s Galaxy Pharma (Pvt) Ltd M/s Martin Dow Ltd and others regarding drug pricing issues in Accountability Court Islamabad.

NAB stated in the reference that the members of the DPC in connivance with each other and beneficiary pharmaceutical companies/firms extended undue financial favours to pharmaceutical companies/firms in the shape of illegal and unjustified price increase to their drugs through DPC meeting held on 9-10-2012 & 22-01-2013 and subcommittee meeting held on 19-11-2012.

It added that the wrongful financial benefits derived by the eight pharmaceutical companies/firms on the basis of price increase through above said meetings comes to be Rs 1078.08 million till 30-6-2015 (out of which one pharmaceutical company M/s RG Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd returned an amount of Rs 385.12 million through plea bargain after deducting retailer and distributor margin.

Reference further said that this illegal benefit is perpetually being gained by the pharmaceutical companies/firms who submitted inflated invoices/incorrect/incomplete costing data and were selling of their drugs on prices which were illegally increased by the members of DPC.  NAB received a complaint wherein it was alleged that officers/officials of Ministry of National Regulation & Health Services Division (NR&HSD) 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 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/ officials submitted incomplete/incorrect and inflated invoices to DRAP for fixation of drugs prices at exorbitant rates.

Due to illegal price hike in the DPC meetings held on 9-10-2012 & 22-01-2013 and sub-committee meeting held on 19-11-2012 approximately Rs 1078.08 million has been pocketed by these pharmaceutical companies causing unbearable burden on general public.