LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) to decide within 10 weeks all pending cases of pharmaceutical companies regarding medicine prices.

He said the existing prices of all medicines would remain frozen till a decision on the cases.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the chief justice had taken up a suo motu notice about increase in prices of drugs.

Gives one more year to Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to enforce policy on medicines packaging barcode

At the request of Drap, the chief justice gave it one more year for the enforcement of policy regarding QR barcode on the packaging of medicines.

Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti informed the court that the earlier timeline of two years was going to expire in December this year, adding that more time would be required to implement the policy.

The court was told the barcode would provide information about batch numbers, expiry dates and genre of medicines. Mr Bhatti said that 390 drugs manufacturing companies had already implemented the barcode policy, adding that complete enforcement of the barcode policy would help eradicate spurious medicines from the market.

The law officer informed the court that as many as 2,000 cases of the pharmaceutical companies had been decided under the Drug Regulatory Policy 2015.

The chief justice rejected a petition moved by one of the drug importers challenging the Drap policy. He observed that the court had no jurisdiction to interfere in policy matters of the government.

The chief justice disposed of the matter and directed Drap to finalise its policy after consultations with all stakeholders and decide all pending cases of the pharmaceutical companies within 10 weeks.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018