In early February, the Pakistani Supreme Court directed the federal government of Pakistan to establish a “Drug Regulatory Authority” within 10 days, after it was informed that five countries had banned the import of Pakistani medicines after the deaths of over 135 patients in Pakistan as a result of contaminated drugs, according to The News International.
A three-member bench comprised of Justices Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Mian Saqib Nisar directed the Punjab Advocate General and representatives of the federal government to make copies of the decision available to all chief secretaries who would pass them on to their respective chief ministers.
During the hearing, the court expressed dismay over the lack of establishment of a drug regulatory authority, especially after health department authorities had been given to the provinces.
Justice Jillani noted that five countries had banned the import of Pakistani drugs while the government was registering cases against the firms accused of providing the contaminated medicines, and expressed dissatisfaction that the cases were based on “media reports” instead of on authority investigations.
Federal Investigation Agency Legal Director Muhammad Azam Khan told the court that a joint investigation team including FIA officials and drug inspectors was investigating the matter.
Investigations have been initiated against three pharmaceutical manufacturers – Alpha Pharma, Pharmawise and Mega Pharma. Samples of their drugs were sent to a drug testing laboratory in Karachi, where results purportedly indicated problems with the drugs from Alpha Pharma.[/membership]