LAHORE - The Federal Investigation Agency has written a letter to the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP) to fix stent price as the agency exposed profiteering.

Poor patients were being fleeced, the FIA director told the DRAP chief executive. The letter read: “An FIA squad along with a drug inspector examined the Cath Lab of the Mayo Hospital and it found that some agents were selling stents in the operation theatre.”

“The enquiry No 04/2017 was registered over illegal sale purchase of stents. During the proceedings, it observed that they were selling these stents on high prices to poor patients and hospital administration.”

The letter further read: “Record received from patients showed that they were selling stents from Rs55,000 to Rs150,000.

“The hospital administration purchased stents from Pak Punjab Cardex Medical System for Rs39,900 per piece and from M/s Ferozsons Laboratories for Rs51,880 per piece while it was purchased by Mayo Hospital administration for Rs145, 000 per piece. This tendency on the part of seller shows the lack of control on stent prices and the poor Pakistanis have been fleeced.”

The DRAP Pricing Director stated that not even single case for fixation of prices was referred by the director registration.

It was mandatory to fix the price of stents. This practice on the part of DRAP has seriously affected the poor patients. The Drug Pricing Policy of 2015 was formulated by DRAP for fixation of prices of drugs but the prices of stents and other related devices/drugs was also not fixed.

The importer (even unregistered importer) earned huge money by wrongful gain from poor Pakistanis. As the stents has been declared drugs by Drug Regulatory of Pakistan, it is suggested that the prices of the stents may be fixed under prevailing laws to safeguard the interest of poor people of Pakistan.

Last month, the sale of unregistered stunt s came to spotlight, prompting the Supreme Court to take action. 

While the country’s top court sought a comprehensive report on unnecessary stent implants, it is found that Lahore’s Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) has no capability to test the misbranded stents seized by FIA from Mayo Hospital.

However, despite the lack of related equipment, the DTL management says they would facilitate the Federal Investigation Agency in stents’ examination only, it was also reported.

The Punjab government has constituted a team to look into the issue. But Professor Saqib Shafi, one of the team members, is already facing charges of being involved in the scam.

Interestingly, the provincial government did not nominate Dr Usman Anwar, who is also a doctor by profession and heading an investigation agency, as member of the inquiry team.