Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday granted two weeks to amicus curie to submit response over the status report submitted by the Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education department, Atal Dullo to the Court in terms of order dated 14 September 2018, in the spurious drug trafficking across the State.
Hearing a suo-moto cognizance taken by court on the basis of media reports about medical corruption in the State, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe granted two weeks’ time to the amicus curie to the Public Interest Litigation to respond the status report submitted by Principal Secretary, H&ME department J&K.
Amicus curie, Altaf Haqani informed the court that the status report submitted by the respondent Principal Secretary to Government, H&ME department is deficient and doesn’t provide details of the officials, who have approved the spurious drugs for in J&K. The amicus curie sought two weeks from the court for furnishing the details.
He informed the court that he will submit response regarding non-furnishing of details of the officers, who have approved spurious drugs for sale.
As per status report submitted by Principal Secretary H&ME J&K before court, almost 69 drug samples have been declared ‘not of standard quality’, during Financial Year April 2017 to March 2018, out of which 58 samples are lifted from open market and 11 samples from JK Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL), a government run agency.
Moreover, 13 drug samples are being declared misbranded. The total number of samples lifted in J&K from open markets and government institutions for the purpose of testing and analyse during the FY April 2017 to March 2018 are 3145, as per the status report.
On 13 September 2018, amicus curie, Altaf Haqani filed a response, pointing out that as per news reports, 81% of total drug samples taken by the authorities from Kashmir valley were found sub-standard. In the year 2017-18, the Drug and Food Control Organization lifted several samples of drugs and other healthcare consumables, out of which 69 were found sub-standard. These samples include 30 samples from Jammu Division and 51 samples from Kashmir Division including the samples taken from government run hospitals. Out of the sub-standard drugs, seven drugs stood supplied by JK Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) a government run agency, which include anti-biotics and life saving drugs.
Pertinently, the suo-moto cognizance taken by court on an open letter written by President of Punjab Medical Council, G.S Grewal to Prime Minister which was published in national daily newspaper ‘The Hindu’ on 12th June 2016 besides an article written by Fida Iqbal in local daily newspaper ‘Greater Kashmir’ on 29th June 2016.
The media reports revealed the “problems and hardships faced by general public due to medical corruption with regard to exorbitant pricing of drugs; payments and commissions to referring doctors by pharmacists as well diagnostic centres; unnecessary reference of patients for testing to the diagnostic centres and medical examinations without actual need.”
Earlier on 19 September 2017, the court had directed the state government to take effective steps to ensure adequate and effective publicity to the public at large with regard to the medical provisions as well as machinery provided under the Regulations of 2002.
The authorities were also directed to monitor all diagnostic and cancer centers to prevent unfair practises. The court also directed that government needs to take urgent steps in this regard.
The suo-moto cognizance taken by the subordinate courts against the officials, involved in supplying substandard drugs was also challenged by various pharmaceutical companies. The court has also dismissed 29 petitions for “lacking legal credibility.”