Pakistan's ex-health director has heart attack under questioning

Who would have guessed news about APIs could be riveting but in a scandal that has mesmerized Pakistan, the former top official of the country's health agency reportedly had a heart attack while being questioned about the agency's API quota system. 

Asad Hafeez, is in a cardiac care unit, The Express Tribune reports, having collapsed while being interrogated by the country's Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) about why his agency increased its annual quota of ephedrine by 9,000 kilograms two years ago. The API, which can be used to make street drugs, was reportedly diverted to two companies with ties to the son of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Danas Pharmaceutical and Berlex Lab International are accused of conspiring with health ministry officials, The Express Tribune reports that. The two companies allegedly got an increased quota of the substance to export to Iraq and Afghanistan but then diverted it to domestic production. They allegedly faked records on how it was being used and allegations the substance ended up in street drugs worth millions of dollars.

The officials allegedly granted them export quotas exceeding limits fixed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The INCB oversees quotas of controlled drugs internationally. The agency has reportely warned the ANF that ephedrine was being smuggled into Iran, and that Europe has been put on alert to watch for an influx of illegal drugs, like Ecstasy, as a result.

- read the Express Tribune story