Drug Regulatory Authority: Punjab govt baulks at issuing consent

Seeks control of Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

Sehrish Wasif February 04, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is waiting for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from Punjab to establish a drug regulatory authority (DRA) which, the province says, it will only issue once Lahore’s Sheikh Zayed Hospital is handed under its control.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid, the special assistant to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, said that the federal government was bound to follow all the clauses falling under the 18th amendment. Therefore, as stated in the amendment, the hospitals falling under federal control were to be handed over to the provinces. Similarly, Sheikh Zayed Hospital should also come under the Punjab government.

Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, who is heading a special committee for the establishment of a DRA, said that its establishment has been on hold since 2002.

“The committee had proposed to the prime minister an ordinance for the establishment of a DRA on February 1, 2012. The premier has convened a meeting of the Council of Common Interests on February 9, in which the final decision will be taken,” Khan said.

Under article 154 of the Constitution, majority is authority. Therefore, even if Punjab does not give an NOC, the ordinance can still be promulgated as Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have already issued certificates, he said.

Khan added that he was in favour of handing over the Sheikh Zayed Hospital to Punjab, but the issue has been politicised now.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Professor Ajmal Hassan Naqvi, a senior cardiologist at Sheikh Zahid Hospital, said that since its establishment, the hospital has worked as an autonomous body under the cabinet division. “It’s like a trust and has never come under the health ministry,” Naqvi said.

Another reason for the federal government’s reluctance to hand over the hospital to the province is that about 25,000 families of federal employees are treated here, as families of many MNA’s and bureaucrats are based in Lahore.

“The hospital has five wings with around 3,000 employees. It has recently adopted a new service structure, called health personnel scale (HPS). Therefore, it will become very difficult to alter everything again if handed over to Punjab,” said Naqvi.

An official working with the Drug Regulatory Board, told The Express Tribune that the federal government cannot hand over the hospital as it was constructed from donations sent in by the United Arab Emirates government. Furthermore, a treaty was also signed between the governments of UAE and Pakistan, according to which the federal government will look after the hospital.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.


Aaron Upright | 9 years ago | Reply

Punjab Government should not be permitted to regulate rickshaws, never mind Drugs.

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