ISLAMABAD: In order to eliminate the black market and put an end to hoarding, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has launched a mobile application to provide “real-time and evidence-based information” regarding the shortage of drugs in the market.

The ‘Drug Shortage Report’, which is available on Android Play Store, will enable Drap to maintain a database regarding drug shortages. It will also be helpful in the identification of hoarders in the market and will support regulators in monitoring supply chain interruptions.

Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Spokesperson Sajid Shah, while talking to Dawn, said Caretaker Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan after taking charge of the ministry had said that he had joined the ministry with a vision to bring health reforms. “Dr Jan had said that he wanted to introduce an app which would be used to ensure the availability of the medicines and eliminate the black market of drugs,” the spokesperson said.

“Application will improve communication between regulators and the public. Drap has also enabled the public to report a shortage of drugs using multiple communication channels…” he said.

Official says application to provide ‘real-time and evidence-based’ data

In a statement, Dr Jan appreciated the initiative of the Drap for the effective resolution of drug shortage complaints. He said that he was firmly committed to providing an uninterrupted supply of quality and safe medicines to the people.

“This application will provide real-time and evidence-based information regarding the shortage of drugs in the market. Inspectors of drugs will have their interface on the application to monitor drug shortage reports and will submit market surveys to Drap,” he said.

Dr Jan stated that every drug became life-saving when it was used for the treatment of a disease that could end in morbidity or mortality.

“It is our responsibility to make these drugs accessible…by ensuring the manufacturing of drugs, and their proper distribution across the country,” he said.

Drap’s job

It is worth mentioning that Drap ensures that every drug, medical device, cosmetic, alternative medicine, and health product must have a certain standard of quality and is safe and effective for use.

Established under the Drap Act 2012, the regulatory authority is responsible for providing effective coordination and enforcement of The Drugs Act, 1976 and bringing harmony to inter-provincial trade and commerce of therapeutic goods. Therapeutic goods include pharmaceutical and biological drugs for human or veterinary use, medical devices and medical cosmetics and health and over-the-counter (non-drugs) also known as alternative medicines.

Drap ensures that therapeutic goods, approved and available in the market, meet prescribed standards of quality, safety and efficacy. The regulatory functions performed by Drap include registration and marketing authorisation, vigilance, market surveillance and control, licensing establishments, regulatory inspection, laboratory testing, clinical trials oversight, pharmacovigilance, and lot release of biologicals etc.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2023

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