PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is establishing a separate Directorate General of Drug Control and Pharmacy Services as an attached department of the provincial health department to rationalise prescriptions and put brakes on fake and unregistered imported medicines in the province.

It will be headed by a director general with four directors and will function directly under the health secretariat to ensure availability of quality drugs through a system of regular inspections, upgradation of testing services, procurement of medicines and strengthening pharmacy council, Mohammad Ibrahim, deputy secretary drug of health department, told Dawn.

“The chief minister has accorded approval to the new initiative and a summary has now been sent to the law department prior to issuance of a notification to establish it,” he said.

The Establishment and General Administration Department had advised to place the same before the cabinet before it is properly notified as attached department of health.

Now the cabinet has approved it and a draft amendment notification in KP Rules of Business 1985 has been sent to the E&GA Department for gazette notification, he said.

CM has approved the initiative, says health dept official

Meanwhile, an implementation committee in pursuance of the cabinet decision has been constituted at the department level to speed up spadework required in the matter, he said.

The setting up of a separate directorate general for drugs was the initiative of former KP chief secretary Mohammad Azam Khan, now principal secretary to the prime minister, to cope with drug-related matters.

Mr Ibrahim said that KP would be the first province to have an exclusive directorate for matters relating to drugs, because the Directorate General Health Services remained occupied with host of issues.

“The new setup will need 80 posts, mostly technical, in addition to the present staff to ensure that sale of drug is regulated, and evidence-based cases are filed in courts against the violators of drugs rules,” he said.

So far, the role of pharmacists has been that of a storekeeper who maintained stock of medicines in government hospitals, but under the new mechanism they would be giving clinical services and would take care of prescription, fixation and duration of doses of drugs to ensure rational medication, he said.

“We want to lower down out of pocket expenses and safeguard the patients against side effects through close working with prescribing physicians within hospitals,” he said and added that maximum utility of the skills of pharmacists was the mandate of the new setup.

Mr Ibrahim said that besides rational therapy the separate directorate would also be helpful in holding the drug inspectors accountable through a system of monitoring and evaluation of their performance.

He said that there were about 100,000 registered drugs and surgical disposable items, but the markets had smuggled unregistered imported and spurious drugs, which needed to be checked through a state-of-the-art testing service.

The deputy secretary drug of health department said that the initiative would enable them to develop the drug testing laboratory and file cases against the perpetrators of the fake drugs and ensure safe treatment of the people.

He said that amendments to Drug Rules 1976 had been incorporated early this year to enhance conviction rate in cases related to medicines for which the health department needed a full-fledged directorate on the pattern of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), which dealt with drug-related matters on the federal level.

Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018

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