28 July 2014

Tanzania: Fake ARVs Saga Takes New Turn

THE controversy concerning suspension of production, distribution and selling of ARV drugs by Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (TPIL) has taken a new turn following a move by the company to sue the government, demanding about 210bn/- compensation and damages.

In the suit filed at the High Court in Dar es Salaam, the defendants are Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and the Attorney General. Judge Fredrick Mgaya has been assigned to determine the matter. The case comes up for mention on September 11, this year.

Through legal services of advocate Dennis Msafiri, the TPIL, the plaintiff, seeks for a declaration that the order made by TFDA directing the suspension and or banning and continuation of the suspension and or banning of production, distribution and selling of Anti-Retroviral Drugs is unjustified and unlawful.

The plaintiff is also requesting for payments of 24bn/-compensation in form of special damages for the loss of income and general revenue arising from the ban, other 27bn/- loss of revenue arising from the business, 750m/- as costs of replacement or repair of liquid line and other machineries.

According to the plaint of the suit signed by the company's Managing Director, Ramadhani Madabida, TPIL further demands 84,375 Sterling Pounds as costs for replacement of water treatment plant, 3bn/- as loss resulting from expired raw materials and other 2bn/- as costs of idle labour.

The plaintiff further requests for payments of 72bn/- as loss of future revenue, other 22bn/- as costs of rebuilding business, 245m/- being costs for renovating buildings, repairing of machines and calibration and 50bn/-, being general damages subject to assessment of the court.

It is alleged that on August 6, 2012, TFDA officials visited the plaintiff's factory premised at Arusha, complaining of being in circulation of sub-standard or counterfeit ARVs bearing manufacturing date March 2011 and expiring in February 2013.

On August 28, 2012, the plaintiff wrote to TFDA disowning and dissociating itself with production and sale of the said drugs branded TT-VR 30 bi-layer round shaped.

The plaintiff claimed that his product is TT-VIR 30 white colour oblong shaped caplets with inscription TPI on one side and T30 on the other side.

The plaint shows that on October 4, 2012, the minister for health allegedly wrongly and unjustifiably informed the public that the plaintiff company was responsible for the counterfeit products and that TFDA had taken action by suspending production of the drugs pending investigations.

"In further of its unjustified decisions, TFDA did on October 10, 2012 made an order suspending production and distribution of all drugs produced by the plaintiff for any use and above the anti-retroviral drugs irrespective of there being no complaint whatsoever," reads part of the plaint.

However, in his written statement of defence, the Attorney General, for all defendants, disputed the claims by the plaintiff and has filed one ground of objection, seeking orders for dismissal of the suit for being bad in law for allegedly having filed without a board of resolution.

He claims that the order by TFDA to suspend the production, distribution and selling of the ARVs was justified and lawful and the special or general damages claimed are baseless and unfounded as none of the purported loss was occasioned by the lawful conduct of the defendants.

"It is pleaded further that the defendants and the plaintiff are shareholders to the company alleged by the plaintiff to have suffered loss under which this suit seeks a redress from this court.

The defendants retains 40 per cent of shares while the plaintiff owns 60 per cent," part of defence documents states.


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