Rehman Malik seeks stern punishment for spurious medicines dealers

Islamabad: PPP Senior Leader Senator A. Rehman Malik on Monday proposed a punishment upto 14 years imprisonment with fine of 50 million rupees for those involved in spurious medicines by proposing an amendment in The Drugs Act, 1976.

In a letter to the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services and Regulations, Senator

A. Rehman Malik, has stated that he has studied The Drugs Act, 1976, in depth and during his services in FIA, he had experienced difficulties in taking action against the manufacturers, distributors and sellers of spurious medicines because of the lacunas in the law. He stated that the prosecution against the criminals involved in

the spurious medicines and raids and checks against them cannot be undertaken unless prior sanction from the drug inspector. In his letter he has proposed that the government should make amendments in the relevant sections of The Drugs Act, 1976 with some additions.

Senator A. Rehman Malik has proposed the following amendments in The Drugs Act, 1976:-

i. The FIA shall be able to undertake any checking raid on the factories reported to be manufacturing spurious medicines without getting any clearance from the drug inspector.

ii. Any Pharmaceutical Company / Individual found involved in funding, producing and distributing spurious medicines shall be liable to be punished upto 14 years imprisonment with fine of 50 million rupees.

In the meeting, Senator A. Rehman Malik also proposed a Bill to further amend The Drug Act, 1976, to ensure the manufacturing of Snake Bite and Dog Bite Vaccines locally in Pakistan.

The Committee discussed in detail the quantity and value in Pak rupees of medicines and vaccines being

imported from India on monthly basis, which was raised by Senator A. Rehman Malik in the Senate House and was referred to the Committee. Senator Abdul Rehman Malik urged the government to control the shortage of snake venom serum and rabies vaccines in the country by making it mandatory for local manufacturers to produce atleast five percent of these vaccines in addition to expensive medical products. He said the government must ensure the availability of snake venom serum and rabies vaccines particularly in the season of moon-soon.

He said that it is very unfortunate that these vaccines and medicines are being imported from India and China when Pakistan can locally manufacture these vaccines adding that locally manufactured vaccines would be much more affordable. He expressed his apprehension that in case of any untoward situation with India, the supply of these lifesaving vaccines can be halt which can create a national health hazard. He expressed concern that Pakistan has imported medicines worth Rs.136 crore from India alone in 2019, which could be saved by making locally.