ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and all the pharmaceutical companies to sit together and prepare a road-map for reduction in the prices of medicine.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the suo motu on the prices of medicine.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, representing the pharmaceutical companies, requested the bench to direct the DRAP to pass speaking order on their applications.

The DRAP should identify the documents on the basis of which they have rejected their applications.

The chief justice said medicines in Pakistan were expensive, while in India those were very cheap as there was no issue of patent in India.

He asked, which forum or tribunal, examines the standard of the medicine.

The chief justice said the other issue was that the medicines were not very effective.

Makhdoom said that there were 2,000 applications pending before the DRAP and also many seats were vacant.

One person is doing everything. Not a single hearing was conducted in the last three months therefore people have to run to court for justice, he said.

Secretary National Health Service told the court that he took up the post four years ago.

He admitted that there were anomalies in the 2015 drug policy.

The secretary said that they sat with all the stakeholders for one whole day back in 2015.

After that, he requested the companies to send the minutes of the meeting, but they sent the minutes just seven days ago.

The secretary said that he was ready to sit down with the stakeholders again to overcome the anomalies.

The chief justice directed the secretary, the DRAP chairman and all the stakeholders to sit in the conference room and come up with a roadmap for reducing the drug prices, only after that they would pass any order.

The same bench, hearing suo motu on illegal transplantation of kidney, said they could not force the parliament to make legislation but could point out flaws in any law.

The court observed that illegal transplantation of kidneys was a great evil, adding that people involved in that business were “not human beings but wolves”.

The chief justice questioned as to what effective measures could be taken to eliminate this “cancer”.

Prof Dr Mirza Naqi Zafar of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation informed the court that the surgical procedures for illegal transplantation of kidney took place in hidden areas.

He submitted that there was no authority either at national or regional level that could curb this practice.

When the additional attorney-general told the court about the existence of relevant authorities in the Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Zafar contended that such authorities were powerless.

The chief justice asked Dr Zafar as to whether he had examined the federal and provincial laws pertaining to transplantation of kidney.

“If the laws are available then there was no need for further legislation, but such laws have to be implemented in letter and spirit,” the CJP said.

Dr Zafar told the apex court that there was still lack of awareness among people about organ donation, adding some people think that human organs could not be transferred.

The chief justice said that it was necessary to know as what were those organs that could be transplanted.

Dr Zafar said that there were still people who wanted to donate their organs.

Meanwhile, the chief justice asked Dr Zafar to submit recommendations for curbing the process of illegal transplant of kidney by March 15 with the ruling that next hearing would be held on March 17 at Karachi Registry.