Adcock to pull plug on pain drug

2011-11-16 06:45

Pharmaceutical giant Adcock Ingram will stop manufacturing and selling pain killers that contain a drug that allegedly causes cardiac arrest.

This comes after the North Gauteng High Court yesterday found that an agreement which allowed the pharmaceutical company to continue manufacturing and selling medicine that contains dextropropoxyphene (DPP), despite it being banned by government, was unlawful.

The agreement was reached last month between the lawyers of the company and those of the Medicine Control Council (MCC) without approval from the health minister and the MCC executive committee.

Dr Abofele Khoele, a medical executive at Adcock Ingram, confirmed that the company would discontinue selling medicine that contains DPP “pending the outcome of the appeal”.The MCC banned medicine containing DPP in the market in May this year.

This was after several studies conducted in the US and UK showed that it caused cardiac arrest and can lead to death in a case of overdose.

Adcock manufactures three pain killers that contain DPP, including synap forte, lentogesic and doxyfene. Soon after the MCC announced that it was withdrawing all medicine containing DPP, the company challenged the MCCs decision.

The pharmaceutical giant lodged an appeal and at the same time took the matter to court seeking an interdict that would force the MCC to stop implementing its decision pending the outcome of the appeal.

Subsequently an agreement was reached between the state lawyers and the company that it may continue manufacturing and selling medicines containing DPP pending the outcome of the appeal.But that agreement was rescinded by Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann yesterday afternoon.

Before the ruling, senior counsel Gilbert Marcus, who was representing the state had argued that, “the agreement was unlawful because it was not authorised by the health minister, the director-general or the executive committee of the MCC”.

He said: “Sello Ramasala who heads the national department of health’s legal service was instructed to oppose the interdict. We even have telephonic records to show that the DG, Precious Matsotso opposed this application until the end.”

But, Adcock Ingram’s lawyer senior counsel BC Bredenkamp was adamant that the MCC knew about the settlement.

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