ISLAMABAD  -  Personal Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad on Thursday assured the Supreme Court that a committee would soon be formed for the registration of cardiac stents.

The personal secretary gave the assurance to a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar which took up the suo moto notice of high prices of stents. At the onset of the proceeding, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Chairman Dr Muhammad Aslam said that a summary for the establishment of an assessment body has been sent to the prime minister. He said that the formation of the committee was delayed as the premier has not yet approved it.

On his statement, the chief justice summoned Fawad Hassan and Ministry of National Health Services Secretary Muhammad Ayub Sheikh with record after the break and explain why the PM had delayed the approval of the summary on an important issue related to the people’s health.

After the break, Fawad Hassan and the health secretary appeared before the bench and PM’s personal secretary said that until the morning, the PM Office did not receive any summary from the DRAP. He said that quite often an impression was given by ministries that the PM Office had withheld the summary, which was wrong.

He said that action starts on a file as and when it was received adding that the prime minister has directed the staff that any issue related to health should be resolved immediately. The chief justice appreciated the PM’s views.

The chief justice asked Fawad Hassan to take the PM into confidence and, if a need arises to change the law, then the same also be done and approve the summary within 10 days.

The DRAP chairman also informed the bench that stents had been manufactured in Pakistan and sent to Germany for testing. The chief justice observed that Pakistani stents were of world standard and its price was also less.

Heart Patients’ Society Chairman Dr Imran, agreeing with the chief justice observation, said that the locally manufactured stents were in the testing stage. Fawad Hassan said that funds have been released to NESCOM for the manufacturing of stents in Pakistan.

The chief justice said that they would also examine the performance of the DRAP. He said medical devices, which were registered with the DRAP, could be used till the final decision of the case. The chief justice remarked that life was beautiful when all facilities were available. Justice Saqib directed the DRAP to decide about the already submitted applications for the registration of stents and other medical devices within one week.

The court said that it was not the right of any doctor to insist on implanting an unregistered stent. He directed the chairman to also involve all stakeholders in the committee for registration of stents. The case is adjourned till March 16.