The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination was held on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh. The meeting was attended by Senator Muhammad Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf, Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar, Senator Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar and senior officers of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and its attached Departments. Senior officers from PMDC were also present. Senator Sirajul Haq was a special invitee. The National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination also attended the meeting.
Issues taken up were recent increase in drug prices, the status of the Islamabad Health Regulatory Authority, fake doctors and spurious drugs and the case of Dr. Shimail Dawood.
The meeting commenced with a review of the report on fake doctors and spurious drugs. IG Police, Islamabad Amir Zulfiqar Khan briefed he Committee regarding the issue at hand and brought to the notice of the Committee the issue pertaining to dangerous drugs that are being sold over the counter. The main consumers, he said, were school and college students. He urged the Committee to investigate the matter as this was another form of drug that was infesting campuses across Islamabad.
Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said that the Committee will pass on instructions for DRAP to review this matter at their end. He stressed the need to bring this issue under legal ambit.
Regarding the matter of fake clinics and doctors’ Senator Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani was of the view that there must be a strong crackdown on Quacks, yet care must be taken not to harass doctors in the process. The Committee was informed according to law the police cannot raid clinics or hospitals in the hospitals of the DHO.
While discussing the issue of establishing the Islamabad Healthcare Authority, the Committee was informed that under section 6, Clause 1 of the Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Act, a selection committee is to be nominated by the Federal Government to determine areas of expertise and skills required for membership of the board and develop a detailed criterion for selection accordingly. It was revealed that CVs have been obtained and the matter is being forwarded to the Cabinet Division for approval.
The Committee recommended that unanimously that that a letter be written to the Cabinet that the Committee must be formed as soon as possible. The Ministry was instructed to make the Authority active within a month. It was also recommended that Senator and MNA doctors must be added to the Health Regulatory Authority.
Regarding point of public importance with respect to increase in drug prices, the Committee showed displeasure regarding 15 percent increase in drug prices across the board, even where raw material had not been imported. Chairman Committee directed the Ministry to provide the Committee with documentation used to present this case to the Cabinet. Details of costing were sought as well. Dr. Ashok Kumar showed extreme displeasure at the rise of prices of life-saving drugs. He around the world these drugs were low cost to increase affordability.
Minister of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Mr. Aamer Mehmood Kianai assured the Committee that in addition to the requested documentation, the Ministry will provide the Committee with a list of reasons of for the increase in prices.
While deliberating over the case of degree recognition of Dr. Shimail Daud Arain, who held a Master of Arts in Hospital Management degree, the Committee inquired about PMDC’s degree recognition criterion and stressed the need to curb tendency of adhoc recognition. The Committee was informed that under PMDC rules non-medical degrees could not be recognised. The Committee unanimously agreed and gave directives to for a policy that, even in the future, would ensure non-recognition of non-medical degrees