Fake registration letter case: (Ministry moves swiftly, recommends stern action)

ISLAMABAD: In line with policy of zero tolerance, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has moved against its own officials in a fake registration letter case and recommended strict action under the law.

According to details, a fake registration letter was issued to a product Everlong 60 mg tablets used to enhance male potency, without adopting due process and standard procedures. Later, the said letter was withheld.

According to a press statement issued here on Sunday, the Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Muhammed Ayub Sheikh constituted a three member inquiry committee comprising Senior Joint Secretary Dr. Amer Sheikh, Deputy Secretary Sana ul Islam and Director Admin Drug Regulatory Authority Dr. Raja Mustafa Hyder, to probe the matter in detail and fix responsibility for the alleged lapse or forgery.

The inquiry committee according to details has held the five officers and officials of the Drug Regulatory Authority directly responsible for the acts of omission and commission in the case and recommended that they be proceeded against under E&D rules leading to award of major penalty of dismissal from service.

On the other hand the case has also been referred by the Ministry of National Health Services to FIA for holding further investigation against them.

The officers include Tariq Siddique, Deputy DG Registration, Faisal Shahzad, Deputy Drug Controller, Bashir Ahmed Bhatti, Statistical Officer, Khurshid Ahmad, Assistant, Pricing Section, and Mohammad Changez, Stenotypist.

It has been further recommended that DRAP should develop a mechanism of checks and balances and SOPs to be followed while handling registration of drugs, issuance of letters, maintaining record etc.

A safety mechanism to double check proceedings and files submitted to Chairman Policy Board by DRAP needs to be developed. The inquiry also recommended that commercial audit be conducted for the past five years for molecules registered and fixation of their Prices by the Registration and Costing and Pricing Sections of DRAP.

It has also been recommended that steps be taken by the CEO DRAP to streamline of record. Since record relating to the fake registration is missing, the inquiry committee has recommended that an FIR be lodged by CEO DRAP for retrieving the missing or stolen record of the department.

A spokesman of the Ministry of NHSRC said there was zero tolerance for any malpractice and under directions of the Minister and Secretary stern action was being taken against officials found involved in any wrongdoing.

A process of reform had been initiated by the Government in the Drug Regulatory Authority and the authority was being cleansed of inefficient and dishonest elements. Transparency and efficiency was critical to attaining goals set in the health sector, added the spokesman.