A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Isotab’s manufacturers to raise the compensation paid to families of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) patients who died from using a contaminated batch to Rs500,000 from Rs 300,000.
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said since it had been established that the tablet manufactured by the company had caused deaths, the company should pay a “respectful compensation.”
“Money cannot bring back a lost life,” the chief justice remarked.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman were the other members on the bench.
The counsel for Efroze Chemicals told court that the company had decided to pay Rs300,000 heirs of each victim.
The bench, however, rejected the proposal and said the company should pay at least a compensation matching that paid by the government (Rs500,000).
Justice Nisar the court would decide the compensation amount if the company failed to make an acceptable proposal.
The bench adjourned the hearing till December 26 and directed the counsel to come up with a final reply from the company.
Karachi-based Efroze Chemicals manufacturers Isotab, the medicine that caused the death of scores cardiac patients admitted at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology. Shadman police had registered a case against the administration of the pharmaceutical company.
An inquiry tribunal of the Lahore High Court had investigated the case and found that deaths of 213 cardiac patients were caused by Efroze Chemical Industries.
The report said Isotab was “first and foremost” responsible for the tragedy. It also reported major lapses at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and the Health Department.
The tribunal concluded that the deaths were caused by Batch Number J093 of Isotab 20mg, distributed at the PIC’s free pharmacy, which contained high concentrations of pyrimenthamine. It said 1,000 patients took pills from the contaminated batch and fell ill, but survived. The inquiry was conducted by Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the Lahore High Court.
The tribunal had recommended strict legal action against the company, its management and others involved under the law.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2013.
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