ISLAMABAD: A senate panel on Friday gave the health ministry and the drug regulatory body a month to come up with a pricing plan for stents in the country.
During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, chaired by Senator Sajjad Turi, it advised patients to lodge complaints in case of any grievance about stents.
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They tasked the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to devise a mechanism on stents and to take action on any such complaint.
In a briefing to the committee on stents, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) CEO Aslam Afghani said that the body had registered as many as 55 types of stents. Moreover, the authority had recently registered 20 more stents.
He added that all companies had been given six months to two years to improve the quality of their stents before registering them with the authority.
He added that some cases of used and expired stents were also reported.
Health Secretary Ayub Sheikh said that efforts were being made to control the prices of stents in the country to ensure that its prices were kept less than the prices in India or Bangladesh. In this regard, he said they would take all stakeholders on board before devising the pricing policy.
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He added that no country in the world regulates stents, however, the government was working on devising a pricing policy.
Sheikh added that they were trying to devise a drug policy which would control prices of medicines and keep prices less than those in neighbouring countries.
After the panel had expressed its displeasure over the absence of the Minister for National Health Saira Afzal Tarar from the meeting the last time it met, Tarrar appeared in Friday’s meeting.
She informed the committee that no allergy vaccine was being produced by private sector in the country.
Committee member Senator Mian Attique said that matter of fixing prices of medicines had been pending for the past four years. He also expressed concerns that there was no allergy specialist at the National Institute of Health.
NIH’s executive director told the committee that 344 posts in the health facility were lying vacant, though they had secured an NOC to fill 148 seats.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.
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