PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
THE Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) has asked the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court to throw out an application by Pearl of Health Hospital to dismiss the charge against the health institution for allegedly supplying expired medicines.
And ZAMRA has asked the court to order the hospital to take plea in the matter.
This is in response to the application made by Pearl of Health Hospital asking the court to dismiss the matter on reasons that ZAMRA has no authority under the Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013 to prosecute it.
ZAMRA prosecutor Brian Kabika told the court that the law does not specify the type of a person who should make a complaint before a magistrate.
Mr Kabika stated that the authority is a person at law as provided under Section (3) (2) of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act Number 3 of 2013 of the Laws of Zambia.
He said if a complaint of a criminal nature is taken to ZAMRA, the authority has powers to investigate, and if satisfied that there is a crime committed, it may commence criminal proceedings against the accused person.
Mr Kabika said by virtue of Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the charge has already been admitted and the result of the admission is that the summons was issued to compel the accused to attend court.
“In fact, your honour, the indictment before you is in total compliance with the provisions of Section 137 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which guides on how indictments must be framed,” Mr Kabika said.
He said it is a misrepresentation of facts to insinuate that ZAMRA is conducting a private prosecution because the case is for the State.
Mr Kabika said assertions that the authority has no mandate to regulate hospital pharmacies is incorrect and an attempt to ouster it from its jurisdiction to protect the public against being exposed to unsafe medicines and allied substances.
He asked the court to dismiss the application on account that the accused’s representative was not in the accused box when the application to have the charge not admitted was made.
“Your honour, for the reasons advanced, we pray that the application to raise preliminary issues be dismissed forthwith and the accused’s representative be ordered to take plea,” Mr Kabika said.
In this case, the hospital has been sued for allegedly supplying expired medicines, contrary to Section 60 of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act.
On July 19 this year in Lusaka, Pearl of Health Clinic Limited, trading as Pearl of Health Hospital, allegedly supplied one bottle of expired neopeptine liquid to Patricia Banda without lawful authority.
Magistrate Felix Kaoma has adjourned the matter to Monday next week when ruling will be made.