New Delhi: Delhi High Court has put on hold the government’s decision to procure around 1.5 crore tablets of a medicine used to bring down drug addicts’ dependency on opiates like heroin and reduce their habit of injecting drugs which involves the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva stayed the procurement order for Buprenorphine placed by the Ministry of Health with drug company Verve Human Care Laboratories on a plea by Rusan Pharma Ltd, which has contended that the government could not have entered into a private contract for getting the medicine when public money was involved.
Rusan submitted before the court that initially in 2014, a tender was floated for procurement of the medicine in which it was the second lowest bidder while Verve came in third.
However, the successful bidder was later debarred and the purchase order was issued to Rusan, its petition said. In 2016, the government approached Rusan to procure the medicine at a price which was offered by the debarred successful bidder and the company had agreed to it, it said.
Rusan has claimed in its plea that it came to know later that the government had issued purchase order in favour of Verve. Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia told the court that a fresh tender for procuring the drug would be floated soon and the purchase order under challenge was issued only as a stop-gap measure.
The court while putting on hold the procurement order asked the government and Verve to file their responses to Rusan’s plea and listed the matter for further hearing on June 13.