Pakistan Launches First-Ever Drug Regulatory Body

Posted 13 November 2012

Pakistan has established a new drug regulatory authority in the hopes of reducing the now-rampant trade of counterfeit and substandard medicines, various news sources report.

News Pakistan reports that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari signed into law the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) Bill on 12 November, which Zardari hopes will increase both the quality and affordability of medicines in the country.

"The signing of this bill will ensure the availability of quality medical services to the people," The News Internationalreported Zardari as saying.

The bill calls for the formation of a Drug Policy Board (DPB)-a 16-member panel composed of both regulators and industry-which will oversee the authority and recommend a chief executive officer. The CEO would require appointment by the prime minister. The DPB meanwhile would be chaired by the national regulations and services secretary, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, reports The Express Tribune.

"For the first time in the history of Pakistan an autonomous drug regulatory authority has been established holding the key to regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, import and sale and advertisement of therapeutic drugs," Pakistani Senator Farhatullah Babar said in an interview with The Nation.

The Nation also reported Zardari as saying that stakeholders need to be involved in the regulatory process, and that companies in Pakistan need to adopt and promote a corporate culture of regulatory compliance.

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