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Event Title: Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination held at Parliament House

Event Date: 2019-04-05

The Prime Minister must take strict notice of drug price increase in Pakistan and stringently evaluate the reasons for this, said Chairman Committee National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh in a meeting held on Friday at Parliament House. 

Members including Senator Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf, Senator Dr. Sikandar Mandhro and senior officers of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination alongwith its attached Departments were present

Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh was of the opinion that owing elevation in drug price to hardship cases is a mere excuse and before resorting to any such measure cost of the product must be considered.  The Committee showed grave displeasure at the absence of the Minister for National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Mr. Aamir Mehmood Kiyani and said that he owed it to the Committee to give a briefing on his four hour meeting with DRAP.

While discussing the PMDC Ordinance that is currently being considered in the House, the Committee took serious notice of the absence of President PMDC and said that if he is not present in the next meeting strict action will be taken against him.  Committee members were of the view that no posting, transfers or appointments must be conducted against this order.  Chairman Committee, Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said that numerous changes are expected in the Ordinance after vetting in Parliament. 

While discussing constitutional bodies, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq stressed the need for curbing the trend of adhoc appointments as seen in the case of National Institute of Health (NIH) and DRAP.  She said that promotions must take place from within the line.  She attributed delay while appointing CEO’s and other senior personnel from outside contributing to serious administrative issues, which affects quality. 

Secretary National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Mr. Zahid Saeed informed the Committee that all such appointments are made through a very transparent process.  However, there have been issues as seen in the case of DRAP CEO, who has been asked to stop work, due to his controversial degree that is not recognised in Pakistan or Sri Lanka, where it was awarded to him.  He said that an interim appointment has been made from within the ranks. 

Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar said that all details of the contentious appointment, along with decisions taken by him must be submitted to the Committee in the next meeting.  Chairman Committee, Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said that a one point agenda is needed to discuss price regulation of medicines in Pakistan.  He said that it is a grave issue that must be probed in-depthly.   Secretary National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Mr. Zahid Saeed informed the Committee that a task force has been formed and the Chairman has been requested to review the drug price list, after which new recommendations could be made and presented in the House. 

Chairman Committee said that a letter will be written to the Prime minister to request him to probe the matter in detail.  The Committee stressed the need for the Minister to attend the meeting and provide details regarding this. 

The sub-Committee report on point of public importance raised by Senator Kulsoom Parveen on substandard medicines was laid in the meeting.  On recommendation of the members it was decided that PSDP would be taken up in the next meeting.