KARACHI: A single bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) comprising Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui on Friday reserved judgement in the high profile hepatitis case in which Sindh Health Department was alleged to have colluded with multinational pharma companies to procure medicine at very high cost, causing great losses to public exchequer and interest of poor hepatitis patients.
The stay order passed on first hearing continued throughout the proceedings. The court has already rejected plea of Health Department for partial purchase of medicines.
Faisal Siddiqui advocate for the plaintiff (one of the national bidders in the tender) submitted his rebuttal to the arguments of all the defendants including two multinational companies, their distributor and provincial health authorities.
After conducting various hearing on priority and expeditious basis, the SHC reserved its judgement in the matter to be announced later. It may be recalled that a local pharmaceuticals had approached the SHC after their bids were rejected by the Program Manager of Hepatitis Control Program.
One of their claims before the court was that the entire procurement procedure was not transparent and fair as provided under the Sindh Procurement Rules. The local pharma companies challenged the decision pleading that many leading health institutions have been purchasing and using these medicines, besides they have been awarded tenders by Govt. of Balochistan, Govt. of AJK and others without any complaints.
Why is the purpose of Drug Regulatory Authority which gives licenses, after conducting various testing on the safety and efficacy of the drugs, to the manufactures for producing medicines and why are local manufactures allowed to export their products when on the other hand the same medicines are not being considered by Sindh government for alleged quality reasons.
Counsel for local pharma companies also argued that their client’s hepatitis medicine has number one raking in terms of sale in Pakistan and being produced at their world class laboratory which has earned the recognition from World Health Organization— the first and only laboratory in Pakistan, however, Sindh Government still chose to procure medicines from foreign multinationals, which is nothing but a huge fraud with public.
A counsel for the petitioner argued that the hepatitis tender has been awarded to foreign companies in violation of the law on exorbitant prices in collusion with the Sindh government.
The petitioner asked the court to order an inquiry for awarding tender to foreign companies at exorbitant and unreasonable prices, unconstitutionally, without jurisdiction, illegally, and with mala fide intentions and in violation of Sindh Procurement Laws. DNA