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‘Unmarked’ drugs meant for Fata people seized

Updated August 30, 2013

PESHAWAR, Aug 29: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health authorities along with police on Wednesday night raided store of the Fata Population Welfare Department and seized ‘unmarked’ medicines meant for free distribution to patients at the government hospitals in the adjoining tribal areas, local officials said.

The officials said the raid was conducted on the Abshar Colony store on Warsak Road and the seized medicines, including misbranded ones, were loaded on a mini-truck.

They said storekeeper had no record of the transportation of medicines and equipment to the tribal areas.

According to the government policy for purchase of medicines, the relevant departments are required to supply the drugs in specially-designed green packing or inscribed with printed words ‘Not for Sale’ highlighted in red.

The officials said the government made purchases in bulk and the manufacturers were bound to supply the drugs packaged different from those supplied to the market by manufacturers.

They said the move was aimed at putting brakes on the said drugs’ sale in the open market and giving it to the deserving population free of charge.

Drugs Inspector Ibrar Khan, who conducted the raid, told Dawn that medicines stored in the compound owned by the Population Welfare Department were found unmarked and samples had been collected.

“This is a violation of the Drugs Act, 1976,” he said, adding that the case would be registered under Section 23 (1) (a)-III of the said act as the procurement of misbranded or unmarked medicine had strictly been prohibited under the law.

The Population Welfare Department, which operates under the Civil Secretariat, Fata, has purchased medicines and other equipment valuing more than Rs10 million.

These medicines were to be dispatched to tribal areas for free distribution among patients, while the equipment were meant to be supplied to the various Fata health care units for better patient care.

An official in the Population Welfare Department said the consignments of drugs and equipment had already been dispatched to Mohmand and Bajaur agencies, while the seized mini-truck with medicines was being sent to Orakzai Agency.

The sources said raid by the district administration on the drugstore had caused embarrassment to the officials of the Civil Secretariat Fata, who thought the raid was illegal as the secretariat didn’t come under the purview of the provincial government.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar Zaheerul Islam said the raid was conducted on the reports that drugs from the official store were being trucked to the local medicine market for sale.

He said the loaded truck was seized and two employees of the department arrested and that the two later turned out to be the Fata Secretariat employees.

The deputy commissioner said after investigation, it was learnt that these drugs were the property of the Civil Secretariat, Fata and the case had been referred to the relevant officials there. He said the truck and medicines had been handed over to the secretariat, while the Fata social sector secretary would conduct inquiry into the matter.