The central pharmaceutical department was flayed by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday for failing to take action against pharmaceutical companies that priced drugs higher than that prescribed under the Drugs Price Control Order.
The division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Anoop Mohta were hearing two petitions filed by Macleods Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.
The judges were annoyed to find that the department had taken no action despite knowing that pharma companies were charging more for Doxofylline – a bronchodilator for asthma. A bronchodilator dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, decreasing airway resistance and facilitating airflow in the lungs. “The pricing is for drugs required by poor asthma patients, but nobody cares about the poor,” the judges added.
The bench also came across supposed favouritism in the department. The matter pertained to two petitions filed before the Delhi High Court by Mars Therapeutics and Chemicals Ltd and Swiss Garnier Life Sciences.
A single judge bench had allowed both petitions by setting aside a notification issued by the department in September 2009. But, the department had preferred an appeal before a division bench of the Delhi High Court only against Swiss Garnier, and not against Mars Therapeutics.
The matter has been posted for hearing after Diwali.