ISLAMABAD-Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) allowed export of personal protection equipment (PPEs) worth over Rs2.98 million including 10,000 N-95 masks despite banning its trade from country, The Nation learnt on Friday.
Documents available with The Nation said that DRAP allowed four companies to export PPEs to different regions of China and titled it a ‘donation.’
Meanwhile, DRAP head Asim Rauf said that restriction on export of PPEs still exists and export was allowed under special request from China.
DRAP on January 30th had imposed a restriction on export of all kinds of PPEs urging strict action against violators.
The letter issued by DRAP on 30th January available with The Nation asked all the federal/provincial inspectors of drugs to visit the importers/distributors dealing with articles used as personal protective equipment to cater the emergent coronavirus infection, in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
It said the personal protective articles include surgical mask, N95 mask, goggles or face shields, disposable gloves, and disposable gowns etc.
It said that the detail of stocks in hand be forwarded immediately to Dr. Ghazafar Ali Khan, Additional Director (Medical Devices and Medicated Cosmetics), Drug Regulatory Authority, Islamabad.
“In case of any attempt to export the articles for coronavirus prevention, a strict action be taken,” said the notification issued.
However, on February 8th 2020, DRAP official Dr. Ghazafar Ali Khan issued four no objection certificates allowing four companies to export PPEs required for protection of coronavirus (COVID-19).
DRAP allowed export of 2,980,300 items which include different kinds of masks including N-95, medical protective clothing and temporary gloves.
Number of N-95 masks exported was 10,000 pieces while 259,300 other kind of masks were exported. Quantity of temporary gloves exported was 10,000 and 1,000 pieces of medical protective clothing were exported from country.
Documents said that the companies allowed for export of the PPEs were Sany Heavy Industry Co. Ltd, CNEEC Pakistan Engineering Company, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co. Ltd and China Railway 21 Bureau Group Co. Ltd.
The notification was issued by Additional Director (MDMC) Dr. Ghazanfar Ali Khan separately to all four companies mentioning different products and quantities said: “I am directed to refer to your request for export of following personal protective equipment (PPEs) medical devices to China in quantity mentioned against each to be ‘donated’ to Red Cross Society of Hunan Province, Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, Hubei Province and Government of the Tibet Autnomous Region for the urgent prevention of the nova-coronavirus in China.”
Sany Heavy Industry Co. Ltd exported 14,300 surgical masks (PF2 professional), 7,500 medi plus surgical masks, 40,000 disposable three ply surgical masks and 1,000 medical protective clothing pieces.
CNEEC Pakistan Engineering Company exported 10,000 Believio Temporary Gloves, 1,000,000 protector surgical masks, 500,000 care safe surgical masks, 500,000 NIA surgical mask and 500,000 simple masks.
China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co. Ltd was allowed exporting 300,000 medi plus surgical masks and 10,000 N 95 masks.
The letter written to the company also said “You are advised to keep in reserve the remaining quantity of PPEs/medical devices till clarity of existing situation viz-a-viz nova-coronavirus in Pakistan. Once we get the clarity, we will certainly reassess/revisit your request for export.”
China Railway 21 Bureau Group Co. Ltd exported 50,000 medical masks and 20,000 Wilson masks
Responding to The Nation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) DRAP Asim Rauf said that a limited amount of PPEs was allowed to export few companies following the request of Chinese government.
He said that Chinese government contacted the government of Pakistan and a certain quantity was allowed to export viewing the requirement.
DRAP CEO said that still there is restriction on export of PPEs and no one is allowed to export the material.