ISLAMABAD: As part of its Independence Day resolution, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Sunday announced to launch a three-month campaign against spurious and counterfeit drugs across the country.
The patient-focused campaign, “Free Pakistan from spurious, fake, counterfeit and substandard drugs,” has been designed to ensure access to quality-assured, safe and affordable medicines for everyone, DRAP Chief Executive Aslam Afghani stated in his Independence Day message.
He said that this campaign was a continuation of DRAP’s earlier campaigns which had proved to be very effective and resulted in the closure of many sales outlets and illegal manufacturing units involved in malpractices. Many people were arrested, imprisoned, and fines worth Rs100 million had also been imposed during the campaign, he added.
The previous campaigns also served as a deterrent against those involved in this heinous crime against humanity, Afghani said.
Under the new campaign, regular checks will be conducted at pharmacies and manufacturing units to ensure compliance with the rules defined by the regulatory body. DRAP teams, along with provincial authorities and security agencies, will conduct strategic inspections and drug sampling to detect spurious drugs.
DRAP teams will also assist owners of sales outlets and industry with improving the manufacturing, distribution, and sales practices while dispensing therapeutic drugs.
To enforce regulatory laws and enhance co-ordination between various federal agencies, DRAP officials will also hold meetings with the top management of Customs, Federal Board of Revenue, Federal Investigation Agency, and other institutions.
Officials of social reformers, consumer protection agencies and media will be engaged to sensitise public about not compromising on the quality of drugs, and buying medical products approved by the authority.
People need to be educated that they should not respond to illegal advertisements displaying unregistered products with fake claims. Public will be guided and requested to co-operate and inform DRAP officials about the presence of spurious drugs, or its manufacturing units, the CEO stressed.
He added that DRAP has recently launched 2-D barcode system which will have to be displayed on all pharmaceutical products. With the implementation of this system, consumers will be able to track down approved drugs via cellphone application. The barcode system will be fully enforced by December 2017.
DRAP is developing further systems and tools as per international practices for ensuring quality drug access and the eradication of spurious drugs from the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2017.