Islamabad - Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has banned only five per cent of the artificial cattle hormones while above 90 per cent are still available in the market, activists alleged on Tuesday.

Pakistan Young Pharmacists’ Association (PYPA) and Pakistan Drug Lawyers’ Forum (PDLF) in a press briefing accused the DRAP for deliberately not issuing the notification for banning all artificial cattle hormones used to increase milk production in animals. “DRAP banned and issued the orders only to recall the RBST hormones after the Supreme Court vacated the stay of Sindh High Court.

However, oxytocin hormones have been not banned,” said Muhammad Usman, representative of PYPA.

He said that the RBST hormones covered only 5 per cent of the market while above 90 per cent people purchased oxytocin injections. He also claimed that due to non availability of biological labs, the vaccine imported from multinational companies and donors were not being properly examined.

“The international donors providing free medicines have damaged local pharmaceutical industry,” he revealed.

Dr Noor Muhammad Mahar from the PDLF alleged that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was protecting corruption of the DRAP.

He said that a grade-17 officer of the DRAP, Akhtar Hussain, who was nominated in two corruption references in 2001 and 2004, was stated to be dead by the authority.

However, an officer named Akhtar Hussain is sitting since 2001 in the DRAP and Ministry of Health and working on important and influential position, he said, adding that Islamabad High Court had taken notice of the confusion and had directed for taking action against the official who presented the record in the court.

Dr Mahar further stated that dengue vaccine was registered in the Philippines in September 2017. The children who were injected the vaccine died after mosquito bite as a severe reaction of vaccine. The dengue vaccine was banned immediately the world over. However, the DRAP registered the said vaccine for financial benefits, he alleged.

Dr Sehar Bashir said that the Chief Justice had banned all hormone injections used to increase milk production in cattle. But Director Quality Akhtar Hussain issued notification to ban only the RBST hormones, whereas oxytocin and few other hormones were widely used in cattle and spreading breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and early puberty in young girls, which are still not banned in Pakistan.

Dr Haroon Yousaf said that the PYPA had written a letter to the Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, which was also copied to prime minister, president and chief ministers that the PYPA and the PDLF were the true representatives of the patients.

On Tuesday, under chairmanship of the secretary health, a meeting of stakeholders was called in Islamabad to increase the prices of medicines. The health officials in the ministry only allowed the industry to enter in the meeting and pushed us away. It is pertinent to mention here that according to the CPI issued by State Bank of Pakistan, 15.68 per cent medicine prices were increased only in the month of October 2017, he stated.

Dr Mudasar Kanju said that there was no mechanism to reduce medicine prices, while raw material prices had reduced internationally. A drug inspector in Karachi, Dr Obaid Ali, had written that some cancer medicines made in India were being sold at 10-time higher prices in Pakistan than India and transfer pricing was also being done by the company.

In reward, Dr Obaid Ali was issued show cause notice, he lamented.