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Event Title: PM Lauds Performance of Committee and Role in Decreasing Drug Prices

Event Date: 2019-07-12

The Prime Minister has lauded the performance of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination due its efforts in reducing drug prices. This was disclosed by Chairman Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh in a meeting held on Friday. He said that price reduction of 5000 medicines is in the pipeline. 

While discussing the progress on the Islamabad Compulsory Vaccination and Protection of Health Workers Bill moved by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh directed the Ministry to accommodate all government changes in the Bill and submit it to the Committee next week.  The Ministry assured the Committee that changes would be submitted by Friday 19 July, 2019. 

Discussing the import of medicines and vaccines from India, Senator Abdul Rehman Malik was of the view that in order to curb shortage of Snake Venom Serum and Rabies vaccines, it must be made mandatory for local manufacturer’s to produce these vaccines in addition to profit making medical products, that flood markets.  He said that it was a pity that medicines were being imported from India and China, when Pakistan is self-sufficient in medical raw material and that vaccines manufactured here would be much more affordable.

While taking up the matter of increasing vaccine production at NIH, the committee was informed that a proposal to expand the Vaccines Centre at NIH was underway and that the Institute was currently producing 25000 viols of Snake Venom Serum and 100000 viols of Rabies Vaccines which once expanded will increase to 100000 and 700000 respectively. 

The Committee took strict notice of lack of vaccines in provinces especially Sindh and Balochistan.  The Committee was informed that delay in payment from provinces led to shortage.  Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh directed NIH to submit SOPs for production and supply of vaccines to the Committee. He also said that the Act must be reviewed and that rules must be mended so that Federal and Provincial Health Institutes may benefit from it. 

Considering the point of public importance moved by Pakistan Cigarette, Pan and Cold Drink Retailers Association, the Committee was informed that 700 families were out of income sue to ban on display of cigarettes. Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh directed the Ministry that a middle way must be sought so that these families may be helped without violating international treaties.  He further stated that he regrets the closing of Sheesha Bars in the country, due to the efforts of his Committee, four years ago since now this has made its way in homes.  The Health Ministry informed the Committee that this was an administrative decision and that it was not involved in it. 

While taking up the issue of raised prices and low quality of drugs raised by Senator Kulsom Parveen, the Committee recommended that details of tendering of chemists must be submitted.  It also directed that FID must conduct a survey to determine number of fake medication in the market. 

While discussing the PMDC Bill 2019, the Committee directed the organization that details of procedures for appointment and recognition of honorary degrees must be submitted to the Committee by next week. 

Chaired by Senator MIan Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, the meeting was attended amongst others by Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Dr. Ghous Muhammad Niazi, Senator Kalsoom Parveen, Senator Rana Mahmood –ul-Hassan  and senior officers from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Services along with all concerned.