ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services on Friday came down hard on Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for registering honorary degrees and running the affairs of the council through a grade 17 acting registrar.
The committee, which met at Parliament House with Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh in the chair, discussed the alleged registration of honorary degrees of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP).
The committee chairman directed the PMDC to submit the record of honorary degrees which were registered by it.
The committee members said the grade 20 post of the registrar was being run by an officer of grade 17 on ad hoc basis.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (Pims) Executive Director Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood said he had also served as the PMDC registrar which was a grade 21 post. However, he said there was no fault of the acting registrar as she had twice attempted to leave the responsibility.
Meanwhile, the acting registrar PMDC told the committee that the process to hire a new registrar and the director finance was in the pipeline and soon the new appointments would be made by the competent authority.
Committee chairman directs council to submit record of honorary degrees registered by it
The committee directed the PMDC to furnish details of the procedure being adopted for the new appointments and registration of honorary degrees to the committee by the next week.
Discussing the issue of Sheesha smoking, the committee advocated that there should be no ban on the use of Sheesha at restaurants.
Even the chairman said that a few years ago his committee had played a major role in banning Sheesha but “today I regret.”
Senator Ateeq Shaikh said after the ban on Sheesha smoking in restaurants Sheesha had now made its way to homes.
He said there was a need to bring new law for relaxation on the bar on the use of Sheesha in restaurants.
Officials from the health ministry said they did not impose the ban rather on court orders the use of Sheesha had been banned in restaurants.
Discussing the issue of prices of medicines, the committee chairman said the prime minister had lauded the performance of the committee as due its efforts drug prices had reduced. He said reduction in the prices of 5,000 medicines was in the pipeline.
About the import of medicines and vaccines from India, Senator Abdul Rehman Malik said in order to curb shortage of snake venom serum and rabies vaccines, it must be made mandatory for local manufacturers to produce these vaccines.
He said it was a pity that medicines were being imported from India and China when Pakistan was self-sufficient in medical raw material.
The committee was informed that a proposal to expand the vaccines centre at the National Institute of Health (NIH) was underway and that the institute was currently producing 25,000 vials of snake venom serum and 100,000 vials of rabies vaccines which once expanded would increase to 100,000 and 700,000, respectively.
The committee took notice of the lack of vaccines in provinces especially in Sindh and Balochistan. It was informed that delay in payment from provinces had led to the shortage.
The chairman directed the NIH to submit SOPs for production and supply of vaccines.
About a point of public importance moved by Pakistan Cigarette, Paan and Cold Drink Retailers Association, the committee was informed that 700 families were out of income due to a ban on display of cigarettes.
The chairman directed the ministry that a middle way must be sought so that these families may be helped without violating international treaties.
Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019