Islamabad - The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan paid Rs280 million from the public exchequer for its rented building over the past three years but so far failed to acquire its own building, a Senate committee was informed on Friday. The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services and Regulations (NHSR) was met in the chair of Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi. The meeting discussed matters of the implementation status of the recommendations issued by the committee in three years and mechanism of establishing a slaughterhouse in the federal city.
The DRAP officials informed the Senate committee that the department paid Rs280 million over the past three years as rent for building of the department while the issue of the allotment of land for constructing its own building is still a distant dream.
The committee in its earlier recommendations had directed the Ministry of NHS to construct a building for the DRAP to save a huge amount of Rs4.5 million being paid every month in capacity of rent.
The chair was annoyed with the explanation of DRAP officials when they called the public money as ‘government funds’.
“It is not the government’s fund but the public money, which is collected from the taxes of people and being utilised carelessly,” Committee Chairman Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi remarked.
The DRAP officials replied that the matter of allotment of 50 Kanal land has already been taken up with the National Institute of Health management and the NIH has agreed to provide appropriate land for construction of its own building.
They added that the Public Works Department has refused to initiate work and the DARP is mulling to award the contract to a private firm after getting a formal approval letter from the NIH.
Senator Ashok Kumar expressing concerns over the area demanded by the DRAP said that it is not clear why the department require such a vast area to construct its own building while currently it is functioning in a smaller area. The officials responded that the area is required for establishing DRAP’s own drug testing labs and other facilities. They added that DRAP lacks its own basic facilities and the area will be utilised to overcome such issues.
They official also informed the Senate Body that the number of drug manufacturing companies have left the country because of the new drug policy while 16 licences were cancelled during the last three years.
They said that Drug Pricing Policy 2015 is being implemented and uniform generic prices for new registration are being fixed under the policy.
However, variation in prices of generic products of different companies is a global phenomenon and many companies sell drugs below the maximum retail prices fixed by the federal government.
Senator Ashok Kumar said that the DRAP must look into the shortage of medicines in the market which multiplies miseries of patients.
“Medicine shortage is always artificial in the market created by a mafia in connivance with the DRAP,” the senator remarked. The Senate body also expressed concerns over the reported financial corruption in the department and mismanagement.
The DRAP officials told the committee that efforts are continued to resolve all issues till June.
The officials of Capital Development Authority (CDA) also briefed the committee on establishment of a slaughterhouse in the city and land has been allocated in Sector I-11/4 for this purpose.
The Committee recommended constituting of a committee comprising members from CDA, Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) NHS and National Food security to oversee the issue of establishing the slaughterhouse.
The committee in last three years gave 30 recommendations regarding DRAP issues, 15 on the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) and 10 on NIH.