ISLAMABAD: Sending 21 questions regarding alleged embezzlement and violations of rules, the directorate general audit has asked the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to appear before an audit team.
The questioner has been sent on the basis of a complaint lodged by Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association.
However, when contacted, Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) spokesperson Sajid Shah that an appropriate reply would be given to the audit department.
According to some of the questions, the entire amount of the Drug Surveillance Laboratory Islamabad was embezzled, over the years ‘most corrupt officials’ were appointed in the authority, medicine prices were increased by 50pc in July 2020, the ministry continued trying to bring back a former chief executive officer of DRAP who was removed after it was proved that he had a fake PhD degree on the basis of which he had got a promotion.
DRAP has also been asked to reply if a number of officers were promoted against merit and were having charge of up to three departments at the same time.
One of the major allegations is that the typhoid vaccine, which was registered nowhere in the world, was imported to test it on children in Pakistani and payment of Rs3 billion was made to India to import an unregistered vaccine.
It was also alleged that the typhoid vaccine issue was highlighted by Dr Obaid, an officer of DRAP, for which he was dismissed from his job.
DRAP was also asked if pharmaceutical companies were sending foreign exchange by transfer pricing due to which the gap between import and export was continuously widening.
Transfer pricing is a term in which companies show that they are importing raw material at many times higher rates due to which not only flight of foreign exchange out of borders become possible but in the end, medicines are also sold at higher rates in Pakistan.
The authority was also asked why prices of 11,204 medicines were not fixed as the matter had been highlighted by the auditor general of Pakistan during a special audit of prices of medicines.
Moreover, why DRAP issued permits to import medicines from India even after a ban was imposed by the federal cabinet following the annexation of Kashmir by New Delhi.
The audit department has also directed DRAP to explain why exorbitant rent was being paid for its office.
DRAP has been paying around Rs5 million per month rent for its office located in G-9.
In the questioner, DRAP has been directed to explain illegal appointments, including that of the drug inspectors and registration of medicines such as dengue vaccine already banned by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The spokesperson for the ministry told that all decisions in the ministry and DRAP were taken on merit.
“We have an appropriate reply to all the queries and we hope that the audit department will be satisfied after listening to our point of view. The PTI government believes in merit and transparency,” he said.
-Courtesy by DAWN