The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has opposed a move to import rabies vaccine from Brazil, for the institute in question is not approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It has said that an agreement between the National Institute of Health (NIH) of Pakistan and the Butantan Institute of Brazil on the import of cell culture rabies vaccine is a gross violation of World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.
The PMA's Islamabad-Rawalpindi chapter, in a press release issued on Saturday, said the vaccine to be imported was also not WHO-certified.
PMA President Dr Mohammad Arshad Rana claimed that the vaccine would be imported in unlabelled vials on deferred payments and would be supplied to hospitals after being labelled and packed at NIH.
Rana said: "It was a misconduct on the part of NIH to label the imported vaccine with its name." The PMA demanded that an immediate inquiry against the recent agreement.
It also appreciated the initiation of an inquiry by the federal Health Minister into the purchase of auto-destruct syringes (ADS) for the extended programme of immunisation (EPI) by NIH.
According to the PMA press release, the auto-destruct syringes prepared by a Dubai-based company were declared as substandard by the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL). And after the purchase was made public, the PMA intimated the federal health secretary about the misconduct by the NIH.
The PMA president further charged that NIH had been producing obsolete sheep brain anti rabies vaccine, which had been discarded in most of the countries and the WHO also declared it obsolete in 1992. He noted the NIH executive director had himself accepted that the vaccine was obsolete and it was being phased out.
The PMA chief wondered why the NIH had to wait this long to decide to phase it out.
Anyway the NIH was producing only 30,000 vials of snakebite serum against the demand of 100,000 vials and the deficit would have to be made up through imports, the PMA president said.