PCJCCI for removing regulatory hurdles in medical equipment imports

LAHORE: Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) Vice President Khalid Raffique Choudhry on Thursday urged the government to remove the regulatory hurdles being faced by importers of refurbished medical equipment.

He told the media here after being briefed by Pakistan Medical Equipment Importers & Dealers Association (PMEIDA) with regard to recent problems emerged under the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan’s new condition of licensing for import of the used hospital machinery. PMEIDA delegation included Qaiser Anwer, CEO Al Rafay Traders, Masroor Ahmed Khan, CEO Bio Vision, Naveed, CEO, Aerow Tech and Ahad Khan, KSA International. Whereas, Khalid Raffique was accompanied by Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General of PCJCCI.

The delegation complained that Pakistan Customs Department had initiated a new practice of asking the importers to produce DRAP Establishment License which was never asked retrospectively, due to which the importers were facing significant detention charges and demurrages; despite the fact they were the largest source of providing hospital machinery to the private sector hospitals in the country. The aforesaid could be substantiated by the fact that the NDMA had also bought refurbished equipment to address the latest pandemic scenario.

The VP added that the executive members of PMEIDA discussed various matters to bring evolution regarding trade in their respective sector by saying that currently all refurb equipment being imported fall in the ambit of import policy of Pakistan whereas the imported radiology equipment was also being registered in Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority which means that such import was already under a certain legal frame work.

He mentioned that DRAP had not defined any clear procedure, reflecting as to how to register the same product imported by different parties because all equipment/devices were purchased either from auction houses, general dealers or directly from hospitals in large countries like USA, UK and Japan etc, they said, adding that as a matter of practice, DRAP currently was only registering local manufacturers and foreign manufacturer’s products which falls in class A, B, C & D with their sole agents in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General PCJCCI had appealed the government to formulate new rules for import of used medical equipment in consultation with the stakeholders and no restriction of licensing should be imposed at present, as the country was passing through a medical emergency era.

He apprehended that hospitals in the country may face shortage of medical equipment, because such equipment were not being manufactured locally. He also proposed to allow the import of some banned items like baby incubators and baby warmers.