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Creation, enactment of federal Health Regulatory Authority to regulate hospitals, diagnostic labs imminent: DRAP’s CEO

ISLAMABAD: Federal health authorities are working on creating a Health Regulatory Authority to regulate health facilities, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and radiological centers as well as preparing and enforcing ‘standard treatment protocols’ in the country to provide quality health facilities and safeguard interests of patients.

“Currently there are no regulations for hospitals in the country and there exist no authority both at federal or provincial levels to regulate functioning of hospitals and diagnostic labs. Federal health authorities led-by health minister Saira Afzal Tarar is working on creation of such a federal health regulatory authority”, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP) Dr. Muhammad Aslam said while talking to newsmen after unveiling of a thematic calendar at a local hotel here.

The thematic calendar titled “From Sunset to Sunrise: Step by Step”, was launched by the Jahan-e-Masiha Adbi Forum (JMAF) at an impressive ceremony here at a local hotel which was attended by DRAP’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Muhammad Aslam, Rector International Islamic University Islamabad Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, eminent poet and writer Prof. Jaleel Aali, Khwaja Razi Haider, Director Quaid-e-Azam academy, Syed Jamshed Ahmed, Dr. Iqbal and several other senior doctors and physicians.

DRAP’s Chief Executive Dr. Muhammad Aslam said federal health authorities were extremely concerned about “misuse” of health sector by some people, who were making money by playing with the lives of people but were not being monitored and regulated by any federal or provincial authority in the country.

“No laws or regulations exist for establishing hospitals and how to run them. There is a mushroom growth of diagnostic labs and radiological centers in the country but nobody knows what type of procedures, equipment and professionals are used and employed by these diagnostic centers”, Dr. Aslam said adding that by the mid of next year, a health regulatory authority would be regulating and monitoring all such health facilities throughout the country to safeguard the interests of patients.

Commenting on the functioning of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), he was a working group comprising all stakeholders including pharmaceutical regulator, industry, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and others would start functioning in January 2017 to finalize a ‘code of ethics’ for the pharmaceutical industry and health professionals, which would be jointly enforced by the DRAP and PMDC.

He deplored that many physicians were prescribing drugs for monetary and other gains, societies of health professionals were receiving huge funds from the pharmaceutical industry and other illegal practices were rampant in the health and pharmaceutical sector, which were seriously hampering the safe health facilities to masses.

“Following legislation regarding code of ethics for the pharmaceutical and health sectors, laws would be enforced by the DRAP and PMDC jointly to safeguard the interests of the patients”, he claimed and added that there was also a need for reducing the number of pharmacies and promote community-based pharmacies to ensure provision of safe and potent drugs to people as per international standard operating procedures for pharmacies.

Earlie, Rector of the IIU Islamabad Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai termed the launching of a thematic calendar by the Jahan-e-Masiha Adbi forum a unique idea saying they had confined major events of Pakistan movement, struggle and sacrifices on twelve pages and recommended that this calendar should be hoisted at every public office and educational institution to apprise people of Pakistan movement.

“This is not a calendar. This is a teaching manual for our educational institutions and it should be placed inside classrooms to apprise pupils of our history and sacrifices made for this homeland we call Pakistan”, Dr. Yasinzai said, adding that even Uzbeks, Iranians and Turks were fond of our great leaders including Allama Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam and others but our young generation was not aware of their character and capabilities.

Eminent Poet Prof. Jaleel Aali termed launching of thematic calendars by the Jahana-e-Mashia Adbi Forum (JMAF) an important event for last 17 years and said this forum was apprising people of our ideology, history, culture, language and rich cultural and literary heritage.

Other eminent scholars and physicians including Prof. Dr. Saeeda Batool from PIMS, renowned pediatrician Prod. Dr. Amjad Siddiqui, Chief of JMAF Khawaja Razi Haider, Chief Executive Officer of Pharmevo Syed Jamshed Ahmed and Dr. Iqbal Ahmed also addressed the launching ceremony of the thematic calendar.

It is worth mentioning here that it is the 17th thematic calendar by the JMAF on the theme of history of Pakistan while earlier calendars were prepared on poetry, Islamic history, Gjhalib, Iqbal, and various others themes in collaboration with collaboration from pharmaceutical firm Pharmevo.