ISLAMABAD: Raids recently conducted by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on drug manufacturing factories and warehouses are hoped to erase criticism of the pharmaceutical industry’s performance.
Drap inspectors are said to have found disturbing conditions in the more than 300 manufacturing units that they raided during the past three months. Unhygienic conditions apart, some factories did not even have proper temperature and humidity monitoring equipment, or racks to store their produce.
Drap Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Muhammad Aslam blames the deplorable situation on the mushroom growth of drug manufacturing companies during the last decade.
“Unfortunately, their numbers increased from 650 to 2,500 during this period,” he said talking to Dawn. “The arrival of thousands of new manufacturers in the market made the situation worse.”
This is what prompted the crackdown to eradicate the manufacturing of fake and counterfeit medicines and so that only regulated products are sold on the market, he said.
“The mushroom growth of pharmaceutical companies affected the quality and standard of drugs and caused old manufacturers to quit as they were could not match the prices the new manufacturers were offering due to unfair competition,” he said.
Minister National Health Services (NHS) Saira Afzal Tarar took notice of the situation and, after intra provincial coordination, ordered an indiscriminate crackdown on the drug manufacturers across the country.
Dr Aslam acknowledged that Drap also took action against those pharmaceutical companies which had turned to selling allopathic medicines under the cover of herbal medicines.
“We will not allow unregistered drugs in the market,” he said. “Herbal medicines too need to be registered to stop the mix up of allopathic medicines in herbal medicines.”
Things are getting better as counterfeiters are disappearing, he said.
Drap said in an official statement on Sunday that raids are continuing in various cities.
Federal Inspector of Drugs Khalid Mehmood and Additional Director Abdur Rasheed raided the Farook pharmacy on Iqbal Road, Rawalpindi, and sealed the premises for “poor storage practices, unhygienic conditions, and absence of record of temperature and humidity control”.
Another joint team inspected the premises of Pharmacy 24 and Ali Medical Centre in F-8 Markaz Islamabad, and sealed Khan medical store due to the violation of the Drug Act, 1976.
Four persons were arrested by Humak police for illegally manufacturing therapeutic goods, the statement said.
However during raids it has been learnt that the situation regarding manufacturing of medicines and storage practices were poor. Moreover it was found that at some factories there were not proper racks to store medicines, there were unhygienic conditions and there was not proper monitoring system because many companies did not have proper record of temperature and humidity.