‘Ephedrine’ being used to manufacture hot drugs, Senate body suspects

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Senate Standing Committee on Interior Monday expressed anger over the allocating quota of precursor chemical, ephedrine, to two pharmaceutical companies, Berlex Lab International Multan and Danas Islamabad. The Ministry of Health had appropriated the quota, 6500 kg and 1500 kg respectively, to the two entities for manufacturing and exporting tablets to Iraq and Afghanistan, and later re-appropriating the allocation for local manufacturing. The standing committee asked the FBR and FIA authorities to collect record of sales and income tax and verify the production capacity of the firms as it was of the view that ephedrine was not used for manufacturing medicines but for the hot drugs and the culprits minted Rs 5 to 7 billion through the unlawful act.
The Committee directed the FIA and the Ministry of Health to produce complete record of the firms, including recent electricity and gas bills, manpower, number and capacity of equipments and others.
The FIA officials informed the senators that during the course of investigation, they found that one of the two companies involved in the scam did not possess any machinery for manufacturing the medicines.
The committee, which held a meeting with Chairman Senator Talha Mehmood in the chair, termed it as a ‘murder of whole society’ and asked the FIA to complete inquiry within a week. It held the ex-DG Health and the drug controller, who had moved ‘swiftly’ to grant registration for export purposes and subsequent quota allocation of ephedrine to the companies, partially responsible for the crime. The entire procedure was completed in a day, the committee was informed.
The meeting was attended by senators Tahir Mashhadi, Abdul Raziq Khan, Muhammad Kazim Khan and Sughra Imam while Secretary Interior Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, additional DG FIA and officials of Interior, Health and Narcotics Control ministries and FBR were also present of the occasion. The committee was told that there are 37 other medicines which should be de-registered immediately as the raw material of these drugs was being used for production of hot drugs.
The committee directed the FIA to submit a detailed report on these medicines so that a proper action could be recommended to address the issue. Representatives of the Health Ministry said a total 54,000 medicines were registered in the country during the 60 years after independence against 20,000 medicines during the last three years.

2 COMMENTS

  1. well it is strange no any legal action has been taken yet against these companies and health authorities who passed quota

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