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ANF expands probe into ephedrine scam

April 28, 2012


Ali Musa Gilani, son of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, is one of the accused in the case.   — ONLINE PHOTO by Raees Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Narcotics Force has started questioning leading pharmaceutical companies as it expanded the scope of its investigation into the ‘ephedrine scam’.

Ali Musa Gilani, son of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, is one of the accused in the case.

It has asked the companies which had been allocated a quota of ephedrine in 2010 to submit their record of production, usage and sale, Dawn has learnt reliably.

The International Narcotics Control Board had fixed an annual quota of 22,000kg of ephedrine for Pakistan but the ministry of health allocated 30,909.55kg in 2010.

A federal government official told Dawn that about 64 companies were allocated a quota ranging between 250kg and 6,000kg. Berlex Lab International of Multan received 6,000kg and Danas Pharmaceutical of Islamabad 1,500kg.

Sources said the ANF had been questioning the pharmaceutical companies to ascertain if they had misused the ephedrine quota.

An official of a pharmaceutical company confirmed that his firm had been summoned by the ANF. “We have received a letter and we will be appearing before the ANF,” he said.

The sources said that the investigation officers feared that a number of companies might not have followed the production procedure for ephedrine which costs around Rs5,200 per kg.“We have asked the companies to come up with ‘computer-generated’ transactions of drugs produced from ephedrine. We will summon production managers because they possess manual record,” the official said.

According to the sources, the production team signs a number of documents, including certificates of quality control department, quantity management and even reports of the internal laboratory that clears the samples of drug before their supply to the market.

“We have also asked the companies to come with their electricity bills since a factory can run 24/7 for 22 days straight to produce ephedrine related drugs such as syrup, tablets or drops from a quota of 500kg,” the official said.

Electricity bills of Berlex and Danas were very low during the period when they should have worked overtime if they used the allocated quotas.