Drap claims its lab will get WHO accreditation soon

Published February 24, 2021
The CDL tests samples of therapeutic goods after they are collected by federal drug inspectors and other departments across the country for their quality. — AFP/File
The CDL tests samples of therapeutic goods after they are collected by federal drug inspectors and other departments across the country for their quality. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: While the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) has raised objections over the performance of Central Drug Laboratory (CDL), the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on Tuesday claimed that the lab will soon get World Health Organisation (WHO)’s accreditation.

The CDL tests samples of therapeutic goods after they are collected by federal drug inspectors and other departments across the country for their quality. A peer audit by WHO is expected in April 2021.

A spokesperson for Drap said the authority was committed to strengthening its laboratories for further ensuring that quality drugs are available in the country. In this context, CDL situated in Karachi is being upgraded. This is one of the most important steps in making Drap a modern-day regulatory body.

“CDL has recently been revamped in accordance with the international best practices. The laboratory now houses some of the cutting-edge equipment for test and analysis of drugs, alternative medicines and medical devices. Best practices as recommended by WHO and United States Pharmacopoeia are being implemented for performing tests on therapeutic goods,” he said.

AGP recently detected financial irregularities in Central Drug Laboratory

“CDL is now moving towards international accreditation as part of Drap’s vision to become a WHO listed authority. In initial phases, CDL has been assessed for quality management system certification and is continuously engaged with WHO for its prequalification as one of the quality control laboratories in the country. In this regard, a peer audit by WHO is expected in April 2021,” he said.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services, CDL is an essential component of the quality framework that tests samples of therapeutic goods for their quality. Regulatory testing ensures that manufacturers of therapeutic goods are manufacturing products of consistent quality and that the health of citizens is protected. The strengthening of Drap’s CDL will also ascertain that spurious, counterfeit, substandard, adulterated and misbranded drugs are identified and curtailed, the statement said.

On the other hand, according to the AGP’s report available with Dawn, financial irregularities of over Rs500 million were detected in the lab.

Moreover, without approval from the policy board, Drap made payments of Rs244 million from the lump-sum approved budget during 2019-20 relating to expenditure on account of civil works. It included purchase of software, computer and IT equipment, civil work, purchase and installation of electrical system, furniture and fixtures.

Moreover, the report suggested recovering Rs19 million from contractors as deliveries were made after the stipulated time and the vendors were liable for damage charges at the rate of 10 per cent of the contract price.

Similarly, the AGP observed that the CDL capacity was meant for drug items whereas it had been assigned the function of lab testing of medical devices.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021

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