ISLAMABAD: While a number of medicine are unavailable in the market, caretaker health minister Dr Nadeem Jan on Tuesday directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) to take measures to prevent artificial shortage of drugs and devise a coordinated strategy with provinces to check the sale of spurious and unregistered medicine.

He also directed the authority for steps to double the export of medicine. Currently, Pakistan exports medicine worth $713 million in a year.

A meeting was held to discuss the performance of Drap and devise a strategy to improve its performance. The meeting was also attended by Secretary Health Iftikhar Shallwani and Additional Secretary Kamran Rehman.

Drap Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Asim Rauf briefed the minister about the functional challenges and performance of the authority.

According to a statement, the minister directed the Drap chief to take all necessary measures to prevent an artificial shortage of medicines and devise a coordinated strategy with the provinces to prevent fake and unregistered medicines.

“We have to work wholeheartedly for the prestige and honour of Pakistan. We will ensure uninterrupted supply of life-saving medicines. Artificial shortage of medicines will not be tolerated,” he said.

It was decided that Drap will also launch a complaint mobile application to end the shortage of medicines. Public and retailers will be able to report drug shortages through geo-tagging by using the application.

“There should be monitoring in real-time of drug shortage to trace complaints. Action taken on complaints should be seen by the complainant,” the minister said. Dr Jan emphasised his determination to improve the sector and protect the health of the citizens.

“We will endeavour to make effective strategies to improve Drap’s performance in the short term. People’s welfare is my agenda and mission. We will not compromise on the quality of medicines. Effective measures will be taken to increase the export of medicines,” he said.

The meeting was informed by the Drap chief that medicine worth $713 million were exported every year. However, the minister said Pakistan had great potential and him directed to take steps to double the export.

“We will endeavour to bring improvement in the health sector in line with the vision of the caretaker prime minister,” Dr Jan said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Health Services has repatriated an official who was working as director with former health minister Abdul Qadir Patel.

According to a notification, the service of Mohammad Imran Ali (BS-19) has been repatriated to his parent department as additional director (BS-19/public relations), Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2023

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