Islamabad - Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan’s (DRAP) three-month campaign against spurious, fake, counterfeit and substandard drugs continued on Sunday to ensure the country free from this menace.

According to an official of DRAP, the campaign was launched with a focus on country’s people access to quality assured, safe, effective and affordable medicine.

He added that this is another series, following an earlier three months similar campaign along with provinces that proved very effective in reducing the spurious, fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs from the country. It resulted in sealing of hundreds of sales outlets, illegal and non-compliant manufacturing units, the arrest of many people, over 1,000 FIRs, hundreds of imprisonment and fines over Rs 100 million, throughout the country, last year.

This also resulted in a big deterrent against the involved culprits in this heinous crime against humanity, he added. In addition, this extended campaign will also include a drive for improving drug quality through integrated and systematic regulatory compliance for manufacturing facilities cGMP and ensuring effective good distribution practices, good pharmacy, and sales practices.

In this regard, DRAP teams along with provinces and security agencies will conduct market surveillance throughout the country, through strategic inspections and drug sampling for spurious drugs and will enforce regulatory compliance to a higher level. DRAP teams will also provide guidance to industry and pharma trade for improving the quality of manufacturing, distribution, sales and dispensing of therapeutic goods, he added.

In this campaign, DRAP teams will meet with heads of Customs, FBR, FIA and other law enforcement agencies, for improving coordination for effective and stringent enforcement of regulatory compliance and to resolve various hurdles and challenges in this regard.

He said that the DRAP will also organize media engagement and will coordinate with social reformers and consumer protection NGOs to mobilize them for public education and to campaign for not accepting illegal and unregistered products and do not compromise on quality of drugs while purchasing, ensuring to buy only genuine products from pharmacies, maintaining good pharmacy practices and only registered and legal drugs. He added people need to be educated that they should not respond to illegal advertisements for unregistered products with fake claims. Public will be guided and requested to cooperate and inform

DRAP for any availability of spurious drugs or its manufacturing that come to their notice or knowledge. He said that the DRAP has already launched ‘2D Barcode’ and notified it’s regulation for pharma products sales pack, which will be fully enforced from December 2017.

This internationally applicable tool will help people to authenticate and track the drugs via cell phone application, before purchasing, he added. The official said that the DRAP is developing further systems and tools as per international best practices for ensuring quality drug access and the eradication of spurious drugs. These international practices will be gradually announced and implemented, in the larger public interest for the safe and rational use of medicines, he added.