Round table debate: Medical council and drugs authority to stay under Islamabad

Speakers highlight how transferring powers to provinces could result in corruption and confusion.

Our Correspondent May 11, 2012

KARACHI: Representatives of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) along with the civil and legal community passed a resolution to keep the two bodies federally regulated instead of transferring powers to provinces.

This was decided at an open-ended roundtable discussion on the status of the PMDC and DRA after the 18th Amendment. The event was organised by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) at PMA House on Wednesday.

Doctors and speakers agreed that both PMDC and DRA should be federally regulated whereas the implementation could be handed over to the provinces.

The PMA Centre general secretary, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, pointed out that although it may be early to take up the issue, the medical community is being proactive since the Sindh health minister has already asked the federal government to transfer the two bodies to the province under the 18th Amendment.

The consensus was that such a move would be suicidal for both the departments. The division of PMDC, which regulates medical education, would result in different curriculums for different provinces. Doctors said that would provide innumerable opportunities for corruption such as opening up new medical colleges to make money.

Similarly, provincial DRAs would create an issue of different medicines, different prices and different rules for issuance of licences in each province.

Former minister of law and human rights activist, Iqbal Haider, said that parliament did not consider the issues that would arise after the transfer of education and health to provinces. According to the constitution, the right to make laws lies with the bodies, said Haider while offering to file a case against this issue.

All in favour say aye

The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) chairperson, Haroon Qasim, brought up the ordinance to keep the two bodies under federal regulation which was passed by President Asif Ali Zardari on February 16, 2012. He said that it needs to be made into a law for full effect.

Haider advised the doctors to get the promulgated ordinance passed before the budget session otherwise it would be delayed further. His suggestion was unanimously agreed upon and a resolution to this effect was passed after the debate.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.


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