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Sindh High Court scraps tender to buy costly hepatitis medicine from multinational companies

Karachi, March 26, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Sindh High Court on Thursday overthrew the Sindh Govt’s award of procuring hepatitis medicine from two multinational companies Roche Pakistan and Schering Plough, declaring it arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal. The court held that the tender process as carried out by Sindh Govt. was not transparent or fair as some foreign conditions such as FDA/EMA were inserted at the last minutes to discriminate local bidders.

A single bench of SHC comprising Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui, who had reserved judgement on March 6 after hearing lengthy arguments of all parties, has announced detailed judgement on Thursday. The Judgment, while allows stay application filed by Getz Pharma, a local pharmaceutical company and one of the bidder in the tender, declaring that the entire process of procuring costly medicines worth Rs 250 million (or 25 crores) was violative of the Constitution of Pakistan and the SPPRA rules, as unlawful conditions were suddenly imposed at the time of announcing the award.

Earlier, the court has rejected the plea of health department for partial purchase of hepatitis medicine from the two multinationals during the course of proceedings, on the grounds that the court was hearing the case on a priority basis therefore limited purchase could not be allowed and interim order passed earlier was continuing throughout.

The counsel for plaintiff (Getz Pharma), included Advocates Faisal Siddiqui, Shahid Memon and counsel for Getz Pharma’s distributor A J Mirza Pharma, Mr. Abdus Sattar Pirzada had concluded their arguments on March 6 when the order was reserved.

The court observed that conduct of Sindh Govt officials was highly doubtful throughout the tender process while rejecting the local Pharma company’s bid on unfair and arbitrary reasons, because of the fact that the medicine rejected was being prescribed by a number of leading doctors and hospitals of Pakistan, and that the local bidder’s laboratory was considered as one of the few in the Mediterranean region.

SHC further declined the rejection remarks of the technical committee in the light of the reports issued by DRAP regarding drug analyses and testing. SHC also observed that there was no justified reason to procure a medicine from foreign company at a higher price worth Rs.5000 or more when the same medicine was provided by the local company at the rate of Rs.2100.

SHC observed that since the medicines in question are required for hepatitis patients on priority basis, Sindh Govt may opt to float the tender afresh for procurement in accordance with relevant laws and on the basis of observations made in the order.

For more information, contact:
High Court of Sindh
Near Passport Office Saddar and Sindh Secretariat,
Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-21) 99203151-9
Fax: (+92-21) 99203221, (+92-21) 99203224
Email: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk
Web: www.sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

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