SC freezes drugs prices

November 15,2018

The drug-makers’ counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, informed the court that the government and drug-makers had agreed on an increase in the prices of drugs due to the recent hike in dollar rate.

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stopped the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) from increasing drugs prices until appointment of a regular chief executive officer of the regulator.

The apex court resumed hearing of a suo motu notice against the increase in prices of medicines, reports Geo. As the hearing got under way, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar expressed his annoyance at DRAP’s failure to name a regular CEO and directed the regulator to freeze the drugs prices until issuance of a notification by the government in this regard.

“Why has a [regular] chief executive officer not been appointed [by DRAP] despite the court’s order?” the chief justice asked. The drug-makers’ counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, informed the court that the government and drug-makers had agreed on an increase in the prices of drugs due to the recent hike in dollar rate.

“But there would be no increase in drugs prices until the government issues a notification in this regard,” the lawyer assured the court. The deputy attorney general told the court that DRAP will forward its recommendations to the cabinet next week.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that drugs prices would remain frozen until an official notification was issued. The court then directed the health secretary to prepare a summary for the appointment of DRAP chief executive and to send it within two days.

The regulator will have to decide on the summary within 15 days, the court instructed. Resuming hearing in a case concerning the return of former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan, the additional attorney general informed the apex court that a prisoner exchange agreement had been signed between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The additional attorney general said following the agreement, the UK Home Office had sent a questionnaire on Dar’s return to Pakistan. “This has been sent to the NAB which will submit responses to the UK Home Office,” said the additional attorney general.

The chief justice remarked that this process would take at least one month, adding that Dar could no longer use illness as an excuse. “He [Dar] says he will return to Pakistan when he is provided with justice. How can we deliver him justice when he does not come to the court?” the chief justice remarked.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that distant justice could not be provided to Ishaq Dar. The apex court ordered theNAB to respond to the UK Home Office questionnaire in one month and submit a report. The hearing of the case was adjourned till one month.

APP adds: Resuming hearing of the dried-up Katas Raj pond case, the chief justice constituted a team under supervision of director general HR of the Supreme Court to investigate misuse of underground water by two leading cement factories. A three-judge bench, headed by the chief justice.

The top court directed the team to visit the two factories and collect water samples from the ponds made to reserve water for months. The bench maintained that the court wanted to know if the water reserved in ponds was a rain water or the underground water.

The court directed the district coordination officer (DCO) to provide all possible support to the team and warned that if there anybody tried to create hurdle then an FIR should be registered against them. The chief justice asked the counsel how the factories reserved water in their ponds four months. The counsel replied that it was rainwater and was not drawn by tube wells.

The chief justice said, "Factories are forcing us to take strict measures, as I know that ponds were filled with tube wells by violating the court orders." He further said if factories violated the court order then the guarantee deposited by the respondents might be cashed. Constituting the inspection team, the bench adjourned the hearing till Friday. The next hearing of the case would be conducted at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry.


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