Court puts ministries on notice

Health Ministry fails to register local, inexpensive hepatitis C injection, given two weeks to respond to charges.


Obaid Abbasi November 13, 2010

RAWALPINDI: The Ministry of Health has two weeks to respond to charges of failing to register a low-cost locally-manufactured hepatitis C injection.

About 100,000 Hepatitis C injections, each costing Rs70, will expire in December, said Batish Mahmood in his petition to the Lahore High Court (LHC). He said the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology and Pakistan Medical Research Council, through their inaction, are responsible for their expiry.

LHC Rawalpindi Bench issued notices to all three government departments to submit a reply within two weeks for failing to register the locally-manufactured interferon. Justice Sagheer Ahmed Qadri of LHC Rawalpindi Bench issued the notices.

The said the injection, according to the petitioner Mahmood, has already been approved by the World Health Organization, but the Ministry of Health was yet to register it.

Registration is a necessary prerequisite before the medicine can be sold locally.

The price of imported hepatitis C injections is anywhere between Rs6000 and Rs9000, which makes the locally-manufactured injections, at Rs70, about 99 per cent cheaper.

Mahmood told The Express Tribune that about 12 million people in Pakistan suffer from Hepatitis B and C. Approving the sales of these low-cost injections can help many people, who could otherwise not afford the expensive treatment, get treated.

The injection will also help save foreign exchange, he added. More than Rs3 billion were spent in 2009 on the import of about 70 brands of interferon injections used to treat hepatitis, according to Mahmood.

He added that a group of scientists and medical experts led by Professor Riazuddin, former director of the Centre of Applied Excellence in Molecular Biology, and Professor Javed Akram, principal of Allama Iqbal Medical College, made the low-cost interferon injection for hepatitis C.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

xeeshan | 11 years ago | Reply And also: What are the side effects? Is it better or worse than the imported version? Where did the trials take place?
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