SHC fixes Oct 19 to hear petitions involving controversy over food, drug definition

KARACHI: An appellate bench of High Court of Sindh comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Omar Sial on Tuesday fixed Oct 19 to hear final arguments in more than a dozen constitution petition filed by importers of food supplement treated as ‘drug’ by the Pakistan Custom’s.

Shama Communication, Pakistan Tibbi Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers, Wajiha Shahzad, Pakistan Chemist & Druggist Association, Pakistan Chemist & Durggist Association, Maple Pharma (Pvt) Ltd, Galaxy Pharma (Pvt) Ltd, Pharmevo (Pvt) Ltd, Excel Healthcare Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd , Indus Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Aamir Iqbal, APUMMA, Elko Organization (Pvt) Ltd, Azfar Laboratories Pvt Ltd UniFeroz (Pvt) Ltd, Naeem ul Haq Khan and others filed the petitions challenging denial of concession available to them on import of food supplement. The petitioner also questions the demand by the Custom for production of license for import of food supplements etc.

Munir A Malik, leading counsel today rebutted the arguments advanced by Additional Attorney General Salman Talibuddin representing DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) who made a distinction between the drug and food supplement.

Munir A Malik submitted that imported consignment include even food for pets and cannot be termed drugs by any definition or yard stick. Some of the consignments are energy booster and again do not fall within the definition of drug, he contended.

After 18th amendment, federal government has no role and now it is a pronvincial affair, he said adding that as such it was beyond Pakistan Customs and DRAP jurisdiction. Pick and choose cannot be made without any basis or reason to declare one item as food supplement and another a drug, he said. He also contended that notification by the federal government for obtaining drug import license is not applicable in the case of instant petitioners.

The bench later put of further hearing till Oct 19 when final arguments would be heard.

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