Pakistan has no WHO-accredited labs for drug testing: experts


KARACHI: Experts and industrialists at the national symposium said that in Pakistan not a single drug testing authority is accredited with the World Health Organisation (WHO), which must be a matter of great concern for the authorities concerned.

They said, “Bridging the gap between academia and industry would be the great contribution to the people of the country. Pakistani pharmaceutical industries export quality medicines to 50 countries of the world; there is a dire need of conducting more research in the field of Bioequivalence Studies. The healthcare statistics are missing in the country; therefore, the authorities seem failed to control spread of fatal diseases like Hepatitis B & C.”

They were speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 3rd National Symposium on Bioanalytical and Bioequivalence Studies held at the Auditorium of the Centre for Bioequivalence Studies and Clinical Research (CBSCR), the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) University of Karachi (UoK) here on Tuesday.

Over 200 scientists and researchers from various institutions of the country are attending the two-day national meeting, organised by the CBSCR of Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), UOK.

CEO Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Dr Mohammad Aslam, Khalid Mehmood of a private Pharma, Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) Saeed Allahwala, Director ICCBS Prof. Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Chaudhary, Dr. M. Raza Shah and Dr. Naghma Hashmi of ICCBS expressed their views in the inaugural ceremony.

CEO DRAP Dr. Mohammad Aslam said that the DRAP tried to encourage local pharma industries to carry out research related to Bioequivalence Studies so that the quality of the medicines could be improved. The country needs a strong bridge between the academic world and industries, he said.

Khalid Mehmood of a private Pharma, said that bioequivalence even in the countries of the developing world had been declared mandatory for the drug testing authorities. In any drug testing laboratory, procedures, validations, systems and verifications do matter, he said.

Chief of PPMA Saeed Allahwala said that the local pharma companies started looking for opportunities for international market. He said that the government would be used for raising standard of industry, securing international certifications, which used to promote Pakistani medicines in foreign markets.

Prof Dr Mohammad Iqbal Chaudhary said that the CBSCR-UoK offered for the first time in Pakistan a unique facility of ‘certified reference laboratory’ that would conduct bioequivalence evaluation and development of generic pharmaceutical products in full compliance with the regulatory authorities in Europe, USA and Japan.

“Pakistani pharmaceutical companies can avail this service to register their products in other countries where bioequivalence is mandatory. This can therefore have a significant impact on the export potential of the Pakistani companies. The improved quality of products in Pakistan will add largely to reduced cost of treatment, improved health, and more affordable treatment of diseases,” he maintained.

Earlier, Dr M Raza Shah welcomed the guests and participants of the symposium, while Dr. Naghma Hashmi, in the end, presented the vote of thanks.