Drug makers warn of shutting factories if arrestees not released

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Pharma officials plan to wear black armbands to work for a few days to protest the govt move

Mar 6, 2016-Pharmaceutical companies have warned of shutting down their factories if the arrested officials of Lomus Pharmaceuticals and Deurali-Janta Pharmaceuticals Private Limited are not released immediately without any condition. 

District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu, on Friday raided warehouses of the two companies, sealing their distribution units and arresting senior officials, on charge of selling medicines at prices higher than the government-set Maximum Retail Prices (MRP).Those arrested are Lomus’ directors Prawal Jung Pandey and Prajwol Jung Pandey and Deurali-Janta’s General Manager Nil Raj Acharya and Manager Nigam Adhikari.

Association of Pharmaceutical Producers of Nepal (APPON) President Shanker Ghimire said they would initially wear black armbands to work for a few days to protest the government move. “If government doesn’t release the arrested, we will go for a full shutdown of industries and distribution network,” he said at a press meet here on Saturday.

Nepali drug makers holds a 40 percent share in domestic market, while rest is covered mainly by Indian medicines, according to APPON.

At the start of the press meet, APPON officials had said they would shut down the industries from Sunday. But after Pashupati Murarka, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), requested them to give some time to the government to resolve the issue, Ghimire announced they would wait for a few days before closing down the manufacturing units and distribution networks. 

Former FNCCI President Pradeep Jung Pandey owns Lomus, whereas Deurali Janta is owned by newly elected president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Hari Bhakta Sharma.

Meanwhile, SSP Bikram Thapa, chief of Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said they would file cases against the arrested in the Kathmandu District Court on Sunday on charge of black-marketeering. 

The Cabinet on July 6, 2015, had fixed MRPs of 96 medicines and had asked drug makers and retailers to implement the rates by January 31, 2016. But pharma companies filed a write at the Supreme Court against the government’s move. “A hearing has been set for March 14,” Bal Krishna Khakurel, chief drugs administrator at DDA told the Post on Friday.

A lawyer, who had filed the case against the government’s move to set MRPs of medicines on behalf of drug makers, termed the police raid “illegal”. Advocate Jay Lal Bhandari said they have filed a writ asking the Supreme Court to scrap Clause 26 provision of the Drugs Act 1978 that gives the authority to Department of Drug Adminis-tration to set drug prices.Bhandari claimed the clause is against the constitutional provision that ensures competitive environment for doing business.


Published: 06-03-2016 10:35

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