Business of alternative medicines comes to standstill across Punjab

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

The business of alternative medicines and healthcare products has come to a standstill across the province of Punjab due to directions issued by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) which restricted the sale and purchase of these products unless the manufacturers and importers of these drugs provide Form VII issued by the authority.
The importers of alternative healthcare products are worst effectees as the customs authorities are not releasing their consignment without production of Form VII. Those using alternative medicines in the treatment of stroke are facing hardship due to non-availability of medicines.
One of the importers of alternative healthcare products seeking anonymity told Business Recorder that his company is enlisted with Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and they are regularly paying fees and other documents to the authority but the DRAP has written a letter to customs authority that no consignment may be released without production of Form VII.
It may be noted that the alternative medicines and healthcare products include homeopathic, unani, ayurvedic, biochemic, nutraceuticals, Chinese or any other system of treatment including probiotics, disinfectants, natural products, food supplements etc. Sources said under Enlistment Rules, 2014, issued vide SRO No 412 (I)/2014, dated 29 05 2014, manufacturers and importers of alternative healthcare products were asked to move an application to the DRAP. About 3,000 applications were received out of which around 380 manufacturers and importers were enlisted while 700 applications were turned down. No action was taken on remaining 1,900 applications.
The sources said that the manufacturers and importers of alternative healthcare products who are enlisted with the DRAP and provide documents and fees to the authority are being harassed while those who are not giving any weightage to DRAP are enjoying a free hand.
The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA), Pakistan Chemists Retailers Association (PCRA) and Drugs Distributors Association (DDA) will a protest at Liberty Chowk Tuesday (today) to register their protest against the DRAP for halting business as well as import of DRAP enlisted manufactures and importers of the alternative medicines and healthcare products.

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