LAHORE: The Young Pharmacists’ Association (YPA) along with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday blamed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on its failure in establishing proper websites for verifications of pharma-registered products’ prices and lack of verification mechanism. They were jointly speaking to media in a press conference held at the Lahore Press Club. Senior drug lawyer Dr Noor Mehar, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians member Dr Anjum Saleem, Legal Affairs Secretary Advocate Hafiz Ahsan Naseer Aslam, Pakistan Pharmaceuticals Association President Azhar Iqbal Butt and other concerned officials attended the conference. They urged the chief justice of Pakistan, prime minister, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) to take necessary action against the criminal activities of the Ministry of Health and DRAP, as the dangerous mafia sitting in these offices was extremely influential and corrupt. The prices must be brought back to the level of 2012 with immediate effect, as lives of 200 million Pakistanis were at risk, they demanded. They accused DRAP CEO Aslam Afghani, who is also the owner of Otsuka Pharma, as the main culprit behind the increase in prices, as according to them he took a bribe of Rs 5 billion through SRO no 628 (I) 2016. They said this was the fourth time in three years that medicines prices’ were increased by DRAP, adding that Afghani has played a key role in all the price increases, as he successfully matured deals between high-ups of the Ministry of Health, DRAP and Club of 50. They said the recent increase in prices of medicines would further add to the miseries of poor people, as thousands of Pakistanis were dying due to unaffordability and unavailability of medicines. Since the induction of Aslam Afghani in DRAP, they added, hundreds of life saving medicines had become short in the market. They said that Afghani was creating artificial shortage of life saving medicines, so that people readily accept whenever there was a price hike. This artificial shortage was first highlighted by Punjab Chief Drug Inspector Dr Zakaur Rehman in an official letter early this year. They said that SRO no 628 (I) 2016, showed that price has been increased between 1.43% to 2.86%, which was tantamount to cheating with the courts of law, parliament and poor people of Pakistan. They said that the abovementioned SRO also validated all the previous price increases, whereas the top officials of the Ministry of Health and DRAP always maintained in the parliament and on media that there was no price increase. They said that Afghani was convicted by Drug Court Peshawar in 2002 for being the main culprit behind increasing the price of Meptin Tablets and Meptin Syrup, distributed by Otsuka Pharma and manufactured by Efroze Pharma. Under section 28 of DRAP Act, a convicted person cannot join DRAP whereas Afghani is still owner of Otsuka Pharma, which is ab-initio, illegal, null and void as per section 18 of DRAP Act. They further blamed that Afghani was extremely influential, adding that the high-ups of Ministry of Health always protected him and even prime minister, president, NAB, ISI and FIA seem helpless to initiate any criminal case against him.