Differing with the Delhi High Court interim order lifting the ban on fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines of some pharma companies, the Madras High Court Tuesday refused to interfere with the Centre’s order prohibiting their sale and manufacture in India.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh declined to stay the Centre’s March 10 notification banning over 300 FDC drugs by refusing to concur with the Delhi High Court’s interim order granting relief to some major pharmaceutical companies against the government decision.
“On consideration of the matter, we respectfully disagree with the view of the single judge of the Delhi high court and are not inclined to pass an all-encompassing order,” the bench said.
The court also issued notice to both the Centre and the state government to explain their stand on a petition filed by Federation of South Indian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association seeking to quash the notification.
A single judge of Delhi High Court had first passed the interim order in favour of pharmaceutical companies on March 14 and identical relief was given subsequently to those who approached it and the relief is granted till March 28.
With two high courts differing on the issue, there is a likelihood of the matter reaching the Supreme Court.
The division bench of Madras High Court did not agree with the contention of senior counsel Vijay Narayanan, who appeared for the petitioners, that identical relief as granted by Delhi High Court be considered in the matter.
The Pharma Association contended that Centre had unilaterally and arbitrarily prohibited the sale and manufacture of the FDCs produced for decades, without complying with process of natural justice.
“We are of the view that the mere fact of the sale of medicines for the last so many years ipso facto cannot call for the sale to continue when an expert body has gone into the issue. The larger public interest would weigh in favour of not staying the effect of the notification,” the bench said.
Further, it directed the Centre not to initiate coercive steps against the manufacturers, stockist, agents, in view of the stock which would have already been manufactured.