ISLAMABAD: Hearing the case of spurious medicines that took more than 100 lives in Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), the Supreme Court on Monday directed relevant authorities to to establish a drug regulatory body within ten days.
The court also directed that the copy of the court order be sent to all four provincial chief secretaries so that they may file their recommendations before adjourning the hearing till February 17.
A three member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Tassaduq Jilani heard the case.
The court was told that contaminated Isotab tablets manufactured by Efroze Chemical Industries were the main reason behind losses of many lives, as proven by a laboratory test.
Director (Legal) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Azam Khan informed the court that three cases were registered by FIA as it was asked by the interior ministry to investigate the case. A joint team comprising federal drug inspectors and FIA officials was constituted, he said.
The team conducted raids and closed Efroze Chemical Industries, after inspecting the premises and meeting staff.
The three pharmaceutical laboratories in Lahore which were originally suspected of foul play were cleared of any criminal offence, however, a medicine called Alfagril, produced by one of the laboratories, has been declared substandard.
Justice Jilani also mentioned during the hearing that the production department of Mega Pharma was unlawfully sealed, to which Advocate General Punjab Ashtar Ausaf clarified that the department was closed only to get samples, adding that it can resume production now.
To a court query, Director FIA submitted that the team investigation officer will recommend cancelation of cases against pharmaceutical companies. Justice Jilani further asked the government to take such steps to restore the damaged reputation of the companies.
The court observed that the FIA report on the case indicated that cases were lodged against these companies on the basis of newspaper reports, as the agency was not aware of the exact cause of the deaths. The FIA officials told the court about that they were pressurised by the interior ministry to register cases but the court responded stating that no one was allowed to take law in their own hands.