ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi has recovered Rs. 385.11 million from a private pharmaceutical company involved in an artificial price hike of drugs. According to a press release issued by the watchdog on Wednesday, NAB recovered the amount from persons identified asTariq Haider and Mian Khalid Mehmood directors of M/s RG Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd in the investigation against officers/officials of national regulations and services, beneficiaries and others regarding drug pricing issues through a Plea Bargain.An investigation is under progress on the allegation of illegal increase of drugs prices, the statement adds. NAB received a complaint wherein it was alleged that officers/officials of the Ministry of National Regulation & Health Services Division (NR&HSD) and others were involved in the illegal increase in the prices of drugs through the Drugs Pricing Committee meetings held on 09-10-2012 & 22-01-2013 and a sub-committee meeting held on 19-11-2012. The prices of the drugs were fixed as per section 12 of the Drugs Act 1976 by the Drugs Pricing Committee (DPC) duly constituted by the federal government.During the course of investigation, it was revealed that some pharmaceutical companies had been given undue financial benefits by the members of the DPC through an exorbitant increase in the prices of their drugs. It also reveals that the management of M/s RG Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd aided, assisted, abetted, and in conspiracy with the DPC members got an unjustified price increase of their drug Venofer Injection on the basis of import invoice @ 3 Euro / ampoule whereas actually the company was importing its product @ 2.5/ ampoule CHF (Swiss Currency) during the relevant time period.In the same way, the management of the said company also got an unjustified price increase of their drug Maltofer Syrup, which was being manufactured by M/s Pharmatec Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd through a toll manufacturing agreement, on the basis that import cost of the raw material of the active ingredient (Iron) was Rs. 46.272/ 120 ml @ CHF 94.80 per kg. Investigation reveals that the cost of active ingredient (Iron) is CHF 49.3/kg at the relevant time period which comes to be approximately Rs. 24/ 120 ml and not Rs. 46.272/ 120 ml. Hence, it is established from the record that the management of the company derived a wrongful gain amounting to Rs. 385.11 million as a result of the unjustified price obtained through fraud and misrepresentation. The accused persons namely Tariq Haider and Mian Khalid Mehmood have submitted an application for a Plea Bargain to the DG NAB (R).Consequently, the accused persons have entered into an express agreement with the NAB for the disposal of the case against them in clear terms of Section 25 (b) of NAO 1999. They agreed voluntarily to make payment as per terms of the Plea Bargain accepted by the Chairman NAB.The offer of the accused was considered by the competent authority. After taking into consideration the facts/circumstances of the case and keeping in view the total worked out liability of Rs. 385.11 million, the competent authority had accepted the PB of the accused persons.The Chairman NAB accepted the plea bargain of the accused persons namely Tariq Haider and Mian Khalid Mehmood for an amount of Rs. 385.11 million and subsequently got it approved by the Accountability Court Islamabad as the accused persons had cleared the entire liability.It is pertinent to mention here that the prices of the above mentioned drugs will be reverted back to the level of 2012 in the light of the Plea Bargain agreement by M/s RG Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd. Moreover, Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan is being issued instructions to implement the order in its true spirit by not allowing the company to sell its above drugs beyond the 2012 prices.