ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has allowed export of respiratory masks and other personal protection equipment (PPE).
Drap Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Asim Rauf claimed that the export had been allowed on special request of the Chinese embassy due to Novel Coronavirus (NCV).
According to a document, the authority had banned export of respiratory (N95) masks, goggles or face shields, disposable gloves, disposable gowns, etc on Jan 30.
The document said the ban had been imposed due to the virus and if the articles were exported, strict action would be taken against the violators.
However, on Feb 8 as many as five companies were allowed to export the equipment and written directions regarding relaxation of rules were issued.
An official of Drap, requesting anonymity, said that health experts have expressed astonishment over the decision.
“Ban on export had been imposed as the masks were in high demand across the country due to panic triggered by the NCV outbreak in China and its spread in some other countries and toxic gas leak in Karachi’s Keamari, which claimed a number of lives.
“Drap had to conduct a raid against the sale of masks in black but later on it allowed their export,” he said.
However, Drap CEO Dr Rauf said the ban was imposed to ensure availability of masks in Pakistan but later the ban was lifted on the special request made by Chinese embassy.
“We have allowed export of masks and other equipment due to close relations with China. However, we have sufficient stock of the equipment,” he said.
“Moreover, we have offered companies to manufacture equipment in Pakistan and licences would be issued without any delay in this regard. Companies can start exporting the equipment after manufacturing because there is huge demand of such equipment abroad,” Dr Rauf said.
5,072 violations of Drap Act Spokesperson for Drap said that National Task Force (NTF) under Drap has carried out 3,169 inspections during last three months and registered 5,072 contraventions of Drap Act 2012 and Drugs Act, 1976.
NTF consisted of federal and provincial drug inspectors who campaigned against spurious and falsified medicine throughout the country.
During this comprehensive activity 243 permissions were granted to lodge FIRs against the culprits.
Stocks of 714 medicines were seized for quality and safety concerns under Drap Act 2012 and respective drug sale rules of the provinces.
A total of 55 cases of substandard drugs, 237 cases of unregistered drugs and 18 cases of overpriced drug sale were registered in this short period of three months.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza showed satisfaction over the performance of NTF under Drap and said: “We are committed to providing quality and safe medicine to the people.”
He made it clear that any element involved in the sale of overpriced and substandard medicine would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Drap CEO said the NTF as per its mandate had strived hard to provide quality medicine to people and took prompt actions against unregistered, adulterated and substandard therapeutic goods.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020