‘Draft of Punjab Drugs Act 2017 to be tabled in next PA session’
LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said the Punjab government will table the consensus draft of Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017, prepared in consultation with the representatives of all stakeholders, in the next session of Punjab Assembly to be held in August, which aims at providing not only business-friendly environment to the pharma industry but would also ensure quality and cost-effective medicines to the patients in the country.
“The new consensus draft of amendment bill will not only allay concerns of the stakeholders, but also tighten its noose around producers of counterfeit medicines to curb this menace,” he said.
He was addressing the concluding session of the 3rd Pakistan Pharma Summit organised by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) here at a local hotel on Monday. After hue and cry was raised upon passage of the Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017, he informed that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif constituted a Cabinet Committee, headed by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, which held consultations with the representatives of pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and wholesalers for three months to identify seven contentious points, which were further narrowed down to two points to make them acceptable for the both the government and pharmaceutical industry for the ultimately benefit of the patients in the country.
He said the Punjab government wanted to abolish the system of drug inspectors, which had become a mafia like police inspectors, excise inspectors, food inspectors and patwaris, but on the insistence of pharma industry, the Punjab government agreed to gradually abolish the system of drug inspectors, which would be ultimately replaced with audit by renowned private firms. Secondly, he said, the Punjab government agreed to industry’s demand of confirming the status of substandard or fake drugs from two or three available options of private firms. “We do not want to impose anything forcefully on the pharmaceutical industry, but will gradually implement the international standards in vogue in developed countries of the world.
Earlier, Punjab Information, Excise and Taxation Minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman informed the summit that the bill to duly amend Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act-2017 in accordance with demands of Pharma industry and pharmacy owners would be tabled in next session of Punjab Assembly.
He said a committee with Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah in the chair and having representation of Pharma industry, pharmacy owners, and the government authorities had finalised its proposals to duly amend the Punjab Drugs (Amendment) Act. He said despite that the law passed by Punjab Assembly in January, 2017, had become an Act after assent of the governor but the Punjab chief minister had stopped its implementation in accordance with the demand of the industry.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Chief Executive Officer Dr Muhammad Aslam urged the Pharma industry to adopt a fresh strategic plan to adopt technological advancements and do compliance with regulatory requirements to match with the highest quality standards being maintained by Pharma industry in the developed part of the world.
In his welcome speech, Central PPMA Chairman Dr Kaiser Waheed said that Pharma industry of the country had been actively thinking to modernise and change its system of manufacturing and running other systems of business to meet regulatory requirements of modern day and to extend maximum benefit to people suffering from various contagious and congenital diseases.
Earlier, speaking at the inaugural session of the Summit, the pharmaceutical industry representatives called upon the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to review its directive giving just six months to the medicine manufacturers to adopt systems of “Serialisation and barcode” for the medicinal products in the country as this deadline is even shorter than the timelines prescribed by regulatory bodies in the developed world for adopting similar technological mechanisms. In June 2017, the DRAP had issued a directive making it binding upon the Pharma industry to adopt within six months the system of Serialisation, which includes barcodes for medicines in order to ensure authenticity and quality of drug products being sold in the market.