Islamabad - The Drug Regularity Authority Pakistan (DRAP) top officials are allegedly involved in illegal appointments and financial embezzlements to favour its blue-eyed multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

The Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum (PDLF) and Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association (PYPA) representatives disclosed this in a press briefing held here on Monday.

Both associations - the PDLF and the PYPA - are at loggerheads with the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and DRAP on a number of issues and accused both of financial embezzlements.

Representative of PDLF Mohammad Usman said that the DRAP is only working to raise the profit of ‘Club-50’ which comprises multinational pharmaceutical companies, while the local industry is deliberately neglected.

He accused that around Rs25 billion corruption is being committed annually in the DRAP in registration of medicines. He said that DRAP Chief Aslam Afghani, while ignoring merit, has made illegal appointments and promotions. “Employees on deputation were absorbed without any advertisement in violation of Supreme Court (SC) orders,” he said.

He said that even an official who was declared dead has been appointed against a senior position at the DRAP.

Representative PYPA Dr Noor Mahar accused the DRAP chief of violating the merit in hiring of assistant directors in the department. He said that 91 assistant directors were hired in the DRAP and the selection criteria were relaxed to hire blue-eyed persons.

Dr Noor Mahar stated that the appointment criterion through NTS written test was set with 50 per cent passing marks, however, after the announcement of result the passing marks were reduced from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. “Millions of rupees bribe were taken from candidates for the appointment,” he accused.

He accused the top officials of following the non-transparent procedure in hiring of federal Inspectors of Drugs also. “The appointment of FIDs requires minimum 10 years of experience but the selection criteria was deliberately violated,” he said.

He also accused some of the DRAP officials of being involved in taking bribe for registration of drugs with brand names instead of their generic names. “If registration letters were issued with generic names, there would be reduction of medicines prices by 5 folds,” he claimed.

Dr Noor Mahar claimed that an officer Sheikh Akhtar Hussain who joined the ministry NHS on July 5, 1991, died in 2001.

“Meanwhile a fake person with the similar name is working on the position of deceased Sheikh Akhtar Hussain,” he said.

He said the proof of death of Shiekh Akhtar Hussain is given in the two references of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and a writ petition is also pending with the IHC divisional bench.

He said Secretary Health Dr Naveed Kamran Bloch stripped Sheikh  Akhtar Hussain of all his official positions but still he is at DRAP with the support of ‘Club-50’.

He further said that Drug Court Rawalpindi has instructed DRAP to take legal action against Sh. Akhtar Hussain, as he is involved in the spurious drug mafia but no action has been taken against him so far.

Representatives PDLF and PYPA urged the Prime Minister, President, Cabinet Division, Establishment, NAB and FIA to make a joint investigation team and investigate all the corruption and embezzlements in the DRAP.