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20 companies must stop manufacturing drugs
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a High Court order that asked 20 pharmaceutical companies to stop manufacturing medicines for their failure to produce quality medicines.
Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court Justice Mirza Hussain Haider passed the order following two separate petitions filed by two companies –- Universal Pharmaceutical Limited and MST Pharma -- seeking a stay on the HC order.
The Chamber Justice also sent the two petitions to the regular bench of the apex court for hearing.
The regular bench of the Appellate Division is likely to hear the two petitions on June 15, said Advocate Manzill Murshid who filed the writ petition with the HC on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.
On June 7, the High Court ordered 20 pharmaceutical companies to stop manufacturing medicines within seven days for their failure to produce quality medicines.
The court had also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned why government’s inactivity in cancelling the licenses of the 20 pharmaceutical companies should not be declared illegal and unlawful.
The court also issued two other rules asking why it should not order the cancellation of the licenses of the 20 companies and 14 other antibiotics companies, who were also ordered to stop manufacturing.
The health secretary, the director general (DG) of the Directorate General of Health Services, the director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration, the Inspector General of Police, the DGs of National Consumer Rights Protection Department and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have been asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.
Earlier on June 5, a writ petition was filed with the High Court (HC) seeking its directives to revoke the licenses of 20 pharmaceutical companies for their failure to produce quality medicines.
On behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), Advocate Manzill Murshid filed the writ petition following a report published in a vernacular daily on April 19.
The writ also sought a bar on producing all types of antibiotics by 14 other companies.
On September 20, 2014, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare Ministry formed a five-member probe committee to identify the pharmaceutical companies that produce substandard and adulterated medicines.
After visiting 84 drug manufacturing entities, the committee submitted a report to the standing committee on February 1, 2016 where it recommended scrapping the licenses of 20 for producing substandard medicines – the same 20 companies on whom the HC order was passed.
The committee’s report also suggested cancelling the permission of the 14 antibiotics-manufacturing companies on whom the HC passed its order today.