ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has decided not to allow Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) to spend Central Research Fund (CRF) amounting to Rs1 billion on construction of its own building, sources told Dawn.

The CRF would be used for finding cure for dengue and other diseases.

Over the years, CRF has been collected from the pharmaceutical companies but that amount could not be utilised at all.

An official of Drap, requesting anonymity, said that over the years CRF had reached to over Rs1 billion but no one bothered to utilise it.

“Over the years, we have set up our offices in a rental building and the rent eats up tens of millions of rupees. It would have been much better had we utilised CRF on construction of Drap offices and in future the amount saved under the head of rent can be deposited in the CRF,” he said.

The official said it was unfortunate that the amount lying unused in the bank account was losing its value due to rupee devaluation.

Funds will be used on finding cure for dengue and other diseases

“Moreover the Auditor General of Pakistan has also raised the objection over the CRF as it is continuously increasing and not being spent by the ministry. We fear that one day we will be directed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) or by the Prime Minister Office to surrender the amount for some other important project of government as we have failed to spend the fund,” he said.

“Drap should have its own building as it would increase the capacity of research work and ensuring the quality of medicines,” he said, adding CRF should be utilized to upgrade the laboratories.

However, when contacted Secretary NHS Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik said the CRF was purely for the research and it would be used for the research work.

“It was unfortunate the in the past no one bothered to use the fund for research. Pakistan is far behind in terms of research regarding its local disease and health related issues. We have a proper plan for the usage of CRF,” he said.

Dr Malik said that research could help find cure for the dengue because a large number of people suffer due to dengue every year.

“We don’t have complete cure of dengue, every doctor gives same medicine which works to some extent but there is a need to find complete cure for the disease or control it through vaccination. We can call foreign researchers, by using CRF, to find the cure for the disease. Moreover, we really lack in the field of research so with CRF we can increase the research work by involving local researchers. Ministry will ensure proper and transparent use of the CRF,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2019