Devolution of health ministry: Regulatory body for drugs sought

Resolution for autonomous body to be discussed in Senate today.


Tufail Ahmed January 31, 2011

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan called for an autonomous regulatory body to be formed for the registration, monitoring, import and export of drugs and also for price and quality control.

Talking to the Daily Express on Sunday, he said that a resolution in this regard has been submitted in the Senate that will be discussed on Monday (today).

All powers must be transferred to the provinces so that issues of the people can be resolved at their doorstep, Khan said. Health secretaries of all four provinces, the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PPMA) and other stakeholders should be included in the drug regulatory authority, he added.

The PPMA along with Senator and National Assembly Standing Committee on Health chairman Dr Nadeem Ahsan has given an application stating the desire to meet members of the committee for the implementation of the 18th Amendment.

They have stated in the application that PPMA is not against the idea of provincial autonomy but it seeks the establishment of an independent body for controlling drug-related issues, Khan said.

Meanwhile, PPMA chairman Haroon Qasim and former chairman Dr Qaiser Waheed said some clauses in the 18th Amendment create doubt and are a cause of worry for 500,000 people associated with the local pharmaceutical industry. After devolving the health ministry to the provinces, drugs and medicines will have to be registered in all the provinces, they said. PPMA representatives will meet the implementation committee for the 18th Amendment soon to inform them about their reservations, they informed.

However, health ministry officials revealed that a draft of the drug regulatory authority has been made for the first time and this will be presented in the National Assembly for approval.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2011.

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