THE Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) has submitted to the Lusaka High Court that Honeybee Pharmacy Limited was never granted any licence by ZAMRA, but that the authority only granted a licence to Honeybee Pharmacy, a sole trader.
ZAMRA has further submitted that a certificate of analysis of samples of medicines and allied substances which were supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited, revealed that they were out of specification to the set criteria.
This is a matter in which Honeybee Pharmacy Limited has sued ZAMRA in the Lusaka High Court seeking an order to forbid the authority from revoking its license.
Honeybee Pharmacy Limited, which is being represented by Tutwa S Ngulube & Company, is seeking an order of interim injunction to restrain ZAMRA by itself, servants, agents or whomsoever from revoking its Pharmaceutical License and publishing any information on social media and other platforms calculated at injuring its reputation.
It also wants an order that the matter be referred to arbitration as per the provisions of the contract governing the relationship between Honeybee Pharmaceuticals Limited and the procuring entity, costs and any other reliefs the court may deem fit.
But in its defence filed in the Lusaka High Court on February 12, 2021, ZAMRA submitted that samples of medicines and allied substances which were supplied by Honeybee were analyzed according to recognised International standards and were found to be out of specification to the set criteria.
It further stated that it acted within its statutory mandate in all the actions it took in verifying the quality of medical products supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited.
“The defendant (ZAMRA) will aver at trial that the plaintiff (Honeybee Pharmacy Limited) was never granted any licence by the defendant but that the defendant only granted a licence to Honeybee Pharmacy, a sole trader registered pursuant to the Registration of Business Names Act, 2011 and the said entity was struck off and deregistered on April 1, 2020 at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency,” read the defence.
ZAMRA further stated that its National Drug Quality Control Laboratory has authority pursuant to the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No.3 of 2013 to analyse medicines and allied substances and that both the Zambia Bureau of Standards Laboratory and Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe which analyzed the medical products supplied by Honeybee Pharmacy Limited are certified laboratories.
“The position of the defendant is that a certificate of analysis of samples of medicines and allied substances which were supplied by the plaintiff revealed that they were out of specifications to the set criteria,” read the defence.
“Save wherein specifically admitted the defendant denies each and every content of the plaintiff’s statement of claim as if the same were set out herein and traversed seriatim.”
Honeybee had stated in its statement of claim that in November 2019, it bade and won a tender for the supply of 22,500 Health Centre kits with the Ministry of Health and a contract was executed to that effect.
It stated that pursuant to the said contract, it delivered part of the consignment contracted for and the same was subjected to a testing and confirmation procedure and a certificate of fitness and acceptance of the goods supplied was issued by the procuring entity.
Honeybee further stated that on or about September 17, 2020, and other subsequent days, ZAMRA begun issuing threats, unverified and disparaging remarks to Honeybee as having supplied defective products disregarding the certificate of fitness earlier issued by the procuring authority.
It lamented that ZAMRA had falsely and unjustistly caused harm to its reputation and commercial wellbeing.
“Even the purported laboratory results that the defendant is relying on were obtained from a laboratory that is not accredited with the world health organisation, contrary to the provisions of the contract here before adumbrated. The allegations are all false and untrue and that at no time did the plaintiff supply defective goods to the procuring entity,” read the claim.
On February 5, 2021, Honeybee through its lawyers filed an affidavit in support of notice to adjourn the matter.
Emmanuel Lilanda, a lawyer from Messrs Tutwa S Ngulube and Company, applied that the matter be adjourned to a date to be agreed by the parties on ground that the parties had engaged in out of court settlement negotiations.
“I wish to seek for an adjournment of this matter due to the fact that the parties herein have engaged in ex curia settlement negotiations and are on the verge of reaching an agreement,” he stated.
However, ZAMRA dispelled media reports that the Authority had entered in an out of court settlement with Honeybee Pharmacy.
In a statement, Saturday, ZAMRA senior public relations officer Chistabel Mutale Lliamupu announced that it had with immediate effect revoked the pharmaceutical licence issued to Honeybee and further directed that all medical products on Honeybee premises be quarantined until further guidance from the Authority.