The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has opened a formal probe into the “unlicenced” manufacturing and distribution of life-saving drugs by certain pharmaceutical companies, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The NAB under its prevention regime has taken this action under Section 33 (C) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and initiated investigations, involving the drug manufacturers, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and officials of the ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination.
The accountability watchdog has also sought the relevant record of licencing, registration and good manufacturing practices (GMP) inspections from the authorities.
Sources familiar with the development said the ministry’s joint secretary and the DRAP’s director licencing appeared before the NAB team on Thursday and provided information.
The NAB team directed the officials to reappear before them on Monday (January 13, 2014) along with the remaining required record, sources added.
Earlier, in a letter to the ministry’s joint secretary vide No.5-3(46/Proj/A&P/NAB HQ/2013/22), dated January 7, 2014, the NAB authorities directed him to provide the entire relevant record on January 9, 2014.
After the initial probe, it has been found that M/s Werrick Pharmaceuticals Islamabad was originally granted registration on December 31, 2004 to import, label and locally pack pre-filled vials of Interferon – an anticancer drug used in the treatment of tumours, leukemia, and certain types of cancer and viral infections –from M/s Inter Artis Pharma, the Netherlands.
However the pharmaceutical had for the last 10 years been contract-manufacturing Interferon at M/s Sctoman Islamabad by importing the drug in bulk from Holland and filling it at the point.
Investigations reveal that the firm mentioned above has been operating for over 10 years without licence and facilities. Yearly inspections have failed to point out these faults.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2014.
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